4.5/10 “Gretel & Hansel” is to be applauded for what it set out to accomplish, but like eating too much candy, it will just leave you with more of a stomach ache than feeling satisfied. There are definitely some respectable elements to admire here. The most noticeable is the fantastic and moody score that the movie provides. It feels modern but fits the older time period perfectly with its creepiness. Speaking of creepiness, the casting is very well done and all of the smaller, supporting roles are perfectly cast as they all have a sinister look about them. The atmosphere of the movie with its dark lighting, heavy mist and foreboding shadows are a welcome addition. The production and costume design are to be applauded for sure. Unfortunately, that is where the positives mainly end. Although they took this familiar story and turned it on its head a little bit to give us something new, we still know how the story ends and many aspects of the movie end up rather bland. The movie isn’t scary and has some cheap jump scares. The chemistry between Gretel and her younger brother left much to be desired. For a couple of young kids who only have each other, you would think the film makers would want to really build up the strength of their relationship to provide some emotional elements but that relationship felt weak and less fleshed out than it should have been. The movie also has an overreliance and an inconsistent use of narration, which felt lazy. It would have been passable to maybe throw a little at the beginning and the end but it is sprinkled throughout it in an ineffective way. There were some unanswered questions that the movie leaves up in the air (mainly involving other kidnapped kids) and I would have liked the lore to have been explored more, since some flashback sequences were effective. Overall the movie tries to do something new with this old story that we all know but it doesn’t bring a strong enough script, paired with its predictable ending and the fact that the movie is forgettable overshadows the high quality production values and fine casting. If you want a much more fun, silly version, I recommend “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” or if you are just looking for a higher quality horror film that takes place around this time period, check out “The Witch”, which this movie definitely tries to emulate but fails to live up to.
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