Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Run Time: 88 mins
Genre: Action/ Fanatsy/ Horror
Opens January 25th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Hey Phoenix Film Fans! The Horror/ Sci-Fi crowd should be excited for this weekend’s release of the modern retelling of the fairy tale “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”. Horror Fans should be doubly please that it walks away with an R rating, so keep the kids home for this one.
Everyone knows the Brothers Grimm fairy tale; Hansel and Gretel find a cannibalistic witch’s house in the woods made out of every sweet & delectable treat imaginable. They are captured by the freaky witch but escape from her clutches. In the fairy tale, the children merely escape by their wits, but in this film, they obliterate the crazy witch, burning her to death. Thus, the Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters are made.
Fast forward “many years later”, the children have grown into strong, independent vigilantes, making a name for themselves in the world of bounty hunting. A mayor of a small town hired Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) to find a slew of children that have gone missing. Everyone is on high alert, especially the Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) who is about to kill one of the town’s women, Mina (Pihla Viitala) accusing her of witchcraft. Hansel quickly assesses Mina, determining she’s not a witch, setting her free.
It seems like Hansel and Gretel have a small fan club in the town found in a young man named Ben (Thomas Mann). He desperately wants to become a witch hunter, but he’s blown off by the duo. As Hansel and Gretel begin their search for the children, they come across unsettling information. They have three nights to find the children, or else on the night of the “Blood Moon” they will be sacrificed by the dark magic witches led by the evil witch Muriel (Famke Janssen) for a spell giving them unlimited powers, especially over Hansel and Gretel.
Muriel claims that Gretel is an intricate part of her evil plan, but neither witch hunter knows why. Now they are in a race against time to figure out their forgotten past, save the children and defeat Muriel. Can they do it?
Out of all the fairy tale “reimagining” over the past few years, compared to other films such as “Red Riding Hood” and Snow White and the Huntsman”, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” certainly takes the cake over the aforementioned films for a few reasons. First it delves into its dark roots and exploits them for all it’s worth. There is no shortage of violence, gore or guts, and it’s unapologetic for the copious amounts of blood and guts. The film’s run time is an appropriate length, clocking in at 88 minutes, the perfect amount of time to tell the story and entertain the crowd. The witches in this film are laughable to look for the ridiculous make-up application at but come across quite creepy in their movements and mannerisms. The lead actors were great choices to place in these roles as they are known but known, but their celebrity doesn’t overshadow the roles or the entire film because they can actually do a decent job of acting. If you’re a horror film fan, this film is a fun ride because although it is campy and ridiculous, it does have a serious side but gives the film enough balance where it’s entertaining if you go into it not expecting much. Check out Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters when it opens in theaters nationwide starting Friday January 25, 2013.