11 March 2013

Movie Review: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters by Tommy Wirkola

Title: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Director(s): Tommy Wirkola

Genre(s): Action, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Horror
Rating: R
Release Date (USA): January 25, 2013

"Some people say that not all witches are evil, that their powers could be used for good. I say burn them all!" - Hansel
What does the story of Hansel and Gretel teach us? That evil witches who have a taste for children will, one day, get their comeuppance. And don't eat houses made out of candy. That one is pretty important. But have you ever wondered if this is where their story really ends? I have and this is Part 2. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are all grown up now but they've never forgotten their harrowing experience as children. After defeating the witch with a hunger for young flesh, they've made it their life's mission to eradicate the world of these vile creatures. Only things aren't quite as simple as they seem. Hansel and Gretel have gone from being the hunters to being the hunted. And now they face a greater evil (Famke Janssen) that will force them to confront their painful past.

Retribution is the name of the game in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Ya know, I find it pretty ironic that retribution is one of the many things this movie failed to achieve. Grimm's Hansel and Gretel would be ashamed, because, let's face it--- it was all sorts of bad. I kinda already knew that going in though. The way I saw it, was Hansel & Gretel had all the potential to be one of those "awesomely bad" films I'm constantly raving about. And that, folks, is why I took a chance on it. Unfortunately, such was not the case. My wallet and the hour and half I spent at the theatre are still suffering from severe pangs of regret. I'm sorry, guys. I wish I could blame my justification on illness but any excuse I come up with is flimsy, at best. I just... I don't even know anymore. This movie was far beyond disfunctional and no amount of Jeremy Renner hotness could salvage it from being such a mess.

As much as I disliked the movie, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters does have intermittent moments of satisfaction however far and few between they may be. The story has potential. It really does. I like the whole fairy tale/vigilante justice thing. My main problem was that it felt like they weren't even trying when it came to the actual execution. It's like, Hollywood just shoved piles of money at the producers and said, "Here you go, give me bucket loads of CGI. Nothing more, nothing less. Story? The public doesn't give a damn about story. They want blood! And guts! And lots of it!" Hansel & Gretel settles for being over-the-top with the amount violence and gore it presents. And don't get me wrong, the violence and gore is what kept it interesting for me. You will never see a better decapitation scene in a movie, I guarantee it. It's just unfortunate because SFX isn't enough to solely keep this movie-goer wholly entertained.

Hansel & Gretel lacks decent dialogue, coherency and likeable characters which is surprising considering the talents they cast in the film. Renner and Arterton are both wooden in their delivery and just look uncomfortable, in general. The movie was relentless and unforgiving, killing off just about everyone, including the only likeable character. If Wirkola was smart, he could've made the film into a clever trope but instead it goes beyond spoofy and lands somewhere in the realm of cartoonish which is, quite possibly, the worst fate to befall an action film.

Summary Prognosis
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is another film full of potential that was flushed down the toilet. It lacks both the oomph and fun that's assumed by watching the trailer. You go in expecting that it's going to be bad, just not quite that bad. While there were some gratifying death scenes and the all-asstastic Jeremy Renner, neither saves the movie from flopdom. There's none of the magic you'd expect or want in this good fairy tale gone bad.

Rating: ½

Watch It: Amazon
Discuss It: IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes
View the Trailer:


  1. Oooh, harsh! I really wanted to see this, but without a story, what's the point? Thanks for saving me some $$ Nikki!

    1. Anytime, Tammy! I'm not gonna lie... I did get a smidgen of enjoyment out of the over-the-top death scenes but that's about all it had going for it. If you're still dying to see this one, wait until it's available on Netflix instant streaming (which it will be, no doubt)!

  2. Yeouch. I think I'll be giving this one a pass.

    1. Yeah, it's a total stinker, that's for sure.

  3. Anonymous3/11/2013

    I do like reimagined fairy tales, but this definitely sounds like one to miss. :)

    1. I knew it was going to be bad, I just didn't realize exactly how bad it would be. Not the best fairy tale twist I've seen.

  4. Yea, it doesn't look too good. Thanks for the honest review. This reminds me of when I went to see The Brothers Grimm (Heath Ledger and Matt Damon) It was bad. Very bad.
    I do have a slight Jeremy Renner crush though.

    1. I remember The Brothers Grimm! It was kinda like that, actually, only much bloodier. I heard that Renner did this film BEFORE he hit it really big and the studios just waited to release it until after he got popular. Figures. He's not but just looks super uncomfortable here.

  5. Sweet review Nikki. The movie actually is fun in parts and does have a couple new twists to the story that aren't too bad but nothing too special.


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