This week in fairy tale bastardization: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters



D: Tommy Wirkola
S: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare


FACT: Fairy tales were meant to be scary, especially the ones by the Brothers Grimm. Most of us know by now that Little Red Riding Hood was about rape, Snow White was about necrophilia, and Cinderella’s stepsisters went as far as severing their toes  to fit into that goddamn slipper. This makes any attempt at a more gruesome reboot a redundant exercise, to say the least.

Norweigan director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) must have missed that memo. In Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, he re-imagined the beloved siblings as badass, leather-wearing vigilantes. You know, because vigilantes from the Middle Ages usually dress like Matrix rejects. Not.

And if you thought that it’s too early for the talented Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers) to experience a career nadir at this point, well, think again. Here, he plays Hansel, now diabetic (From eating too much candy. Get it?!). While one-time Bond girl Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) plays Gretel, now manifesting signs of troll fetish (Don’t ask). It’s been years since they were almost eaten by that gingerbread-dwelling witch; now they want revenge. Little do they know that their latest adversary would hold secrets about their bitter past. Enter Famke Janssen, channeling her villainous stint from X-Men: The Last Stand. Now, bring on the gratuitous blood and gore.

Faithfulness to the original story is the last thing you’ll expect from this obnoxious 3D reboot. The gingerbread house, for instance, is presented here as a mere afterthought. What we get instead are a dull script that boasts a confusing amount of profanity and bloodletting that will put the Saw franchise to shame.

Word of advice: If you’re looking for dark and gruesome, read the Grimms’ original fairy tales instead. Now, those stories were unapologetically and unequivocally macabre. Skip this.

RATING: 1.0 out of 5

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