"Reel Reviews: ‘Gretel & Hansel’ stays true to Grimm Brother’s original vision" by: Jessica shepard

   Growing up, “Hansel & Gretel” was a cautionary fairy tale about being wary of strangers, not taking candy from strangers and basic common sense.
   Or, at least the sensitized almost Disney version I heard was like that.
   Naturally, when I got older I got my hands on the really dark and original Brothers Grimm version.
   This cinematic rendition tries to stay true to those roots, but provides more background on the witch than I expected.
   “Gretel & Hansel,” also known as Gretel & Hansel: A Grim Fairy Tale, is a horror film based on the German folklore tale "Hansel and Gretel" by the Brothers Grimm.
   The film is directed by Oz Perkins, and produced by Fred Berger, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, and Dan Kagan, with a screenplay by Rob Hayes.
   It’s rated PG-13 for disturbing images/thematic content, and brief drug material clocks in at just over 85 minutes worth of run time.
   Also, it’s a very dark film – as in there isn’t much light, so you might need to dial up the brightness on your screen.
   Sophia Lillis and Sam Leakey portray the title characters, alongside Charles Babalola, Jessica De Gouw, and Alice Krige.
   After their father's death, teenage Gretel (Lillis) and her younger brother Hansel (Leakey) are going to meet a man about a job as a housekeeper.
   Gretel meets with the man, but he makes his true intentions clear when he asks Gretel if she is still a virgin; the two leave without a job.
   That night, the siblings' mother rebukes Gretel for not doing what she had to do to get a job and help provide for them.
   She tells Gretel that she and Hansel must leave because there is no room left in the house, threatening to hack Gretel to bits if they don't leave immediately.
   The siblings flee their home and find a hut to sleep in for the night.
   Suddenly, a ghoulish man arises and lets out a horrible scream and chases the siblings outside, attacking Hansel.
   Before he can get to Gretel, he is killed with an arrow to the head from a hunter (Babalola), who takes the siblings into his home for the night and directs them toward others who can provide them with food and work.
   The following morning, the siblings go outside to forage and seek work.
   Frustration hits when they find nothing until Gretel spots some mushrooms, which they decide to eat.
   They turn out to be hallucinogenic mushrooms that cause the two to laugh hysterically.
   Hansel then wanders until he finds a house that has a cake smell coming from it.
   Gretel follows as she hears what sounds like a girl's voice beckoning her and tries to stop Hansel from going inside, but he goes anyway and appears to be taken by someone.
   Gretel tries to start a fire to break inside, but she is greeted by Holda (Krige), the woman living inside.
   She invites the siblings inside for a meal and allows them to sleep there in exchange for work.
   Things start out normal enough from there, but Gretel has lingering suspicions that are later proven right.
   The movie has a different twist on the old fairytale but the end is still the same – the witch burns to death.

 

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