Um… It’s Actually Gretel & Hansel (Movie Review)

Gretel & Hansel Movie ReviewAm I reading this wrong or has the title been switched up a little bit? It has, right? It used to be Hansel & Gretel… but its Gretel & Hansel now? This is Gretel & Hansel? Well Gretel & Hansel it is then. Anyway I went to see Gretel & Hansel (2020) earlier this week. It shouldn’t seem like such a foreign tale, regardless of the names of our main characters being switched around in the title. However, you would be surprised at how different this new take on the tale can be. Well let’s pack a few treats and trudge through the dark and mysterious forest. Shall we?

Gretel & Hansel (2020) is a fantasy/horror/thriller directed by Oz Perkins, writer of the The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) and I am The Pretty Thing That Lives in This House (2016). The film is written by Rob Hayes, writer of Chewing Gum (2017) and New Gods (2016). Gretel & Hansel (2020) stars Sophia Lillis, Alice Krige, Jessica De Gouw, Charles Babalola, Samuel Leakey, Ian Kenny, Abdul Alshareef, Manuel Pombo, and Beatrix Perkins. The film is produced by Fred Berger, producer of La La Land (2016) and Destroyer (2018), and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, producer of Midnight Special (2016), Upgrade (2018), Sinister (2012), and Insidious (2010). Gretel & Hansel (2020) is a spooky looking film. The spooky look of the film is brought to us by the country of Ireland. After the screening we had the pleasure of a Q & A with Mr. Perkins who recommends going across the pond to film because… money. Anyway, the film plays with color, light, shadows, and frames in a stylized and arthouse kind of way, which makes the film an alluring experience. Boy I’m hungry. Let’s go a little deeper I think I see a light through the woods.

Hansel and Gretel… Gretel and Hansel. Why the switch? Why so many variations? It was a little while back that we were given a more action heavy, superhero-like interpretation of the characters in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013). Even in that same year the famous brother/sister combo depicted them as stoners in Hansel & Gretel Get Baked (2013). As you can see our intrepid, candy-hungry, forest frolicking, brother/sister duo have lived a number of different lives on and off screen. I have not seen the other two aforementioned films based off the of the famous Grimm fairy tale. However, what always holds true with each installment of these films, versions, and variations, is that there are two of them, and they are both roughly the same age. I can’t remember off hand whether Hansel or Gretel is usually the eldest of the two, but in this version we see Gretel as being the responsible older sister to a much younger Hansel, hence the title switch. This gives us a chance to experience more of the story through the eyes of Gretel. Boy oh boy does Gretel have a story to tell. Something smells good… oh wait I think there’s a house in the woods? Let’s step inside.

The film begins with narration from Gretel (Lillis). We see a fairytale unfolding in front of us, but not the one that the film is based off of. The audience is curious to see what this tale has to do with the rest of the film, but trust me it plays a big part. After the fairytale is told there is more information being spoken to us by Gretel. Gretel goes into town to look for work in order to support her mother and brother, Hansel; single parent homes are a constant theme in Grimm fairy tales… along with child labor. After declining the job offer from what would have been her employer and potential suitor Gretel and Hansel (Leakey) are promptly kicked out of their home to fend for themselves. This opening does not stray too far from how the original tale starts out, but it is through Gretel’s perspective that makes the film unique; especially when Gretel interacts with Holda (Krige), the witch. I won’t go much further than that, but I will say that this decision does add a slight twist and little more depth to the traditional story. Okay I think we’re out of the woods.

I have to admit I was taken off guard by the Gretel & Hansel (2020), at first. It is more than a horror film, but does not scare us in the way you would think. Being a horror fan myself, I am disappointed that this is not as scary as it was advertised. Although the film is not the scare or gore fest I was looking for it did have a great message for a certain gender, but also for people as a whole. This one is very different, folks. I praise it for its innovation and unpredictability in parts, but feel that the film is lacking in the horror department and sense of danger. If anything I craved just a little more from Gretel & Hansel (2020), but overall I liked it. No crazy rush to the theater on this, but I’d say give it a watch.

Gretel & Hansel Movie Review

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