A modern take on the classic fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel was directed by Anthony C. Ferrante and stars Dee Wallace, Brent Lydic and Stephanie Greco.
As soon as I saw Dee Wallace’s name attached, I was sold. One of my favourite horror actresses and a major influence on the creation of Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life. She has been part of our horror lives from the likes of the 1977 classic, The Hills Have Eyes to 1983’s Cujo and 1986’s creature feature, Critters. As well as entertaining us in such movies as 1991’s Alligator II: The Mutation, 1996’s The Frighteners and 2007’s Rob Zombie’s Halloween. Even in more modern times she is still going strong being often the best thing about The House of the Devil, Red Christmas, Haunting of Cellblock 11 and Dolls.
Here, once again she does an excellent job. Turning a run of the mill torture-porn style horror into something fairly entertaining. At least when she is on screen.
Dee Wallace plays Lilith, a recluse who runs the local shop ‘The Gingerbread House’. When teen siblings Hansel (Brent Lydic) and Gretel (Stephanie Greco) are forced to ask her for help they make a horrific discovery. Lilith is a witch and along with her violent sons has been abducting teens, fattening them up and then cooking them to serve to the locals in pies.
Will the pair be able to escape her house of horrors?
There are things to enjoy in Hansel & Gretel. Aside from Dee Wallace, who really has fun with her ‘evil’ side, the rest of the cast aren’t horrible. They can’t hold a candle to her but do a serviceable job. Even if their characters are often written like dribbling idiots.
Far too many times the movie tries to get you to care about a character with a few lines of human-like dialogue only to have said character killed a moment later. It doesn’t help that the supporting cast are probably the weakest of the bunch.
The cinematography, sound and effects are also pretty impressive. Even more so when you see the estimated budget (IMDB has it at $135,000). They really squeezed every penny to making this film look good and it pays off. While brutal scenes of torture are nothing new, Hansel & Gretel is happy to spray the blood and gore around which is always fun.
Then we have the plot. Decently written and having a bit of fun turning the fairy-tale into something even more macabre. It has pacing issues and drags a bit in the middle but plays out in an expected yet entertaining way.
It’s no classic and won’t be remembered long after viewing but while it’s on, many will find themselves fairly entertained.
Hansel & Gretel