Don’t ask me why I wanted to see this movie; maybe because it’s based off of a fairy tale, and that always interests me. It definitely had a steampunk (I’m an avid steampunk fan) feel to it, both in the costuming and the outlandishly modern yet not modern weaponry that Hansel and Gretel used. If you’ve seen Van Helsing, you will recognize many similarities in the style of movie. I wouldn’t say it’s really a thriller, but it’s more gruesome and creepy than just a regular action flick.
I would delve into the plot elements, but there’s not much there. In true action packed fashion, the plot takes a back seat to the fighting and blood and gore. It loosely follows the classic story of Hansel and Gretel, but expounds on why they were left in the woods by their father, and it explores their life as adult witch hunters finding and destroying witches. Honestly, the most entertainment my flatmate and I got from watching this film was keeping a running tally of how many times each cuss word was used. Considering that the characters cussed twice in the first 5 minutes, I was expecting it to be a lot more (we counted 16). The best thing about this film was the costuming and makeup. My friend didn’t like the creepy witches, but, as a fan of the show Face Off, I was fascinated by the wide variety of makeup jobs and skills portrayed. However, a movie which is only entertaining because of the makeup jobs is not particularly one worth watching.
Surprisingly, this film was not filled with nudity. Gretel wears some pretty low cut tops and there is one scene where Hansel goes skinny dipping with a good witch (more is implied, but not shown). The whole relationship between Hansel and the good witch seemed rather pointless. She helps them defeat the evil grand witch, is stabbed, and dies. What was the point in bringing in a love interest if it was doomed to end like that? I guess every good action flick needs a little romance to make it appeal to more than one specific group of viewers.
As with any movie based on witches, this movie is filled with witchcraft. There are no incantations invoked, which somehow makes it better. It doesn’t seem as ominous or real when things just happen with no explanation as to how it’s done. God has no role in the plot line. “Even your God knows better than to come here,” one witch says. However, without God, or any kind of moral standards, there is no way of determining right and wrong. Hansel and Gretel are the purveyors of justice, but one cannot tell how they determine it. Right just is. Everyone does what is right in their own sight, but they are the most right. It’s hard for me to be fully on board with Hansel and Gretel because there is no truly right side.
All in all, this movie is one with no message or moral and no clear purpose. It’s an action flick that’s full of fluff, and by fluff, I mean gory scenes of dismemberment, violence, and abuse that could definitely leave someone with nightmares. It wasn’t worth watching the first time nor any other time.