Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Review: Laughable, But Fun

Let the witch hunt begin. In this action-packed English-language film debut of Norwegian writer/director Tommy Wirkola, the eponymous siblings of Hansel and Gretel pursue a bloody life of witch-hunting. This is a very unique and fantastically gory take on the classical German tale of “Hansel and Gretel”. Instead of living happily ever after with their parents upon making off with the wealth of the deceased witch, they find themselves orphaned and set off on a life of hunting down every single witch across the land, and burning them.

This is no bedtime story for the kiddies, this one is solely for the grown-ups. Blood, nudity, language, blood, violence, gore, blood, and more language. It is a movie for the lover of campy schlock.

Do not come into this expecting a classic cinematic experience. If your theatrical arena is the high brow avant-garde, go away. This movie refuses to take itself seriously. It’s a constant wink and nod to the audience, saying “Yea, we know how silly and campy this is. So?” You won’t be left thinking and you won’t be scared (as long as you’re the audience for the rating).

Just enjoy seeing a bunch of witches get torn to shreds.

In this departure from the well-known fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel (played respectively by Jeremy Renner of “Avengers” fame and Gemma Arterton) are witch-hunters, orphaned as children, on a quest to ride the world of the dreaded witch (who apparently resemble a mix between the Orcs from “Lord of the Rings” and the kid from “The Grudge”). They run in the battle, guns and repeating crossbow blazing, ready to destroy their enemy. After a montage of newspaper clippings displaying their rise as renowned witch-hunters, they stumble across yet another town, this one plagued by a strange multitude of child kidnappings. Along with the needed, albeit incredibly creepy, help of fanboy Ben (played delightfully awkward by Thomas Mann) they set off to end the underlying plot behind the kidnappings.

Even though both the action and the dialogue can be rather choppy and stilted, it kind of works to the film’s advantage. This was not meant to win major awards, it was simply meant to entertain.

In short, this is a “movie”, not a “film”.

Is Renner likely to put this one high on his resume? No, but it’ll be one on his list to laugh about at the bar over a beer or two. Thankfully, this was a movie shot in 3D, as opposed to a conversion. Also thankfully, this movie takes advantage of the 3D, with blood splatters and bullets flying galore. For that reason this movie will likely cause some headaches for those with vision issues or motion sickness, as its quick cuts can often leave one feeling shaken. This is not due to the 3D, but is simply due to the cinematography itself.

All in all, this is far from being a perfect movie. The acting is hit-or-miss, the cinematography can be a bit disjointed, and the action can be a bit on the overkill side. However, this doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment factor. Simply put, you sit down, turn your brain off, and watch some witches explode.

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