Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Apparently there are a couple of more movies about the brother & sister but this is the big budget version of them as grown ups. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a 2013 American-German action-horror dark fantasy film with black comedy elements, co-written and directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola. It’s a continuation of the story of the siblings, initially written by The Brothers Grimm and see them grow up to be witch hunters. Co-produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick & Beau Flynn the movie stars Jeremy Renner & Gemma Atherton as the brother & sister with Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Derek Mears & Finnish actress Pihla Viitala.

So we see Hansel & Gretel left in the woods by their father on the urging of their mother. The kids chance by a gingerbread house and eat some of the candy. On entering the house the run into the wicked witch who plans to fatten them up and kill them but the siblings outsmart her and are able to kill her in the oven. Throughout the fifteen years after the incident, Hansel and Gretel become famed bounty hunters dedicated to mercilessly eradicating witches, slaying over six hundred of them. Their work is relatively easy because, for an unknown reason, they are immune to spells and curses. Hansel, however, is diabetic as a result of his ordeal and needs to take a regular shot of insulin every few hours. They are called to the village of Augsburg as 11 children, born in 11 different  months of the year have been taken by a group of witches led by Muriel. By dad the siblings capture one of the witches and interrogate her and find out that Muriel is planning to the ritual of Blood Moon, which requires sacrificing six boys and six girls, each born on a separate month. Muriel and her witches attack the town, injuring the hunters and causing much damage as they take the final child needed for the ritual.

The rest of the movie are the siblings getting the better of the witches with the aid of a young man Ben, who idolizes the two, Mina a good witch and Edward a troll who is bound to serve witches but seems to have an affinity for Gretel. The siblings find out that their mother was a good witch or white witch, like Mina, and that they were sent into the forest to protect them as the townsfolk (Augsburg is their hometown) feared all witches and later killed the mother & father. This explains why the siblings are immune to witches’ magic. Muriel takes Gretel away to sacrifice as they need a Grand white witch’s heart to complete the ritual but Gretel with the help of Mina, Ben & later Edward attacks the gathering and frees Gretel. One by one all the witches are killed but Mina, who shared a romantic experience with Hansel is also killed by Muriel. The siblings then engage in a grueling fight against Muriel inside the gingerbread house, until they behead her with a shovel. In the end, Hansel and Gretel collect the rest of their reward for rescuing the children before embarking on their next hunt, with Ben and Edward joining them.

Not at all frightening but I did like the make-up and designs for some of the witches, although Famke Janssen’s ended up looking like a black metal band member! I also wonder why they need American accents for some of the characters – it actually takes away from a period film when the actors talk like modern day people. The blood & gore is nothing to disturb most of us though I wouldn’t show this film to small kids. It’s just about passable because really the story is nothing to be excited about. This movie could have been a lot better with more effort and some better acting!

6.5 outta 10!

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