Based on the well-known fairy tale, this film follows two siblings, Hansel and Gretel. The two come from a poor upbringing and are forced to knock on doors around the countryside seeking work, hoping to earn money to buy food. One evening as they return home with no money, their mother tells them to leave and even threatens to cut them up in tiny pieces if they do not leave permanently.
Now Gretel and Hansel must work together to try and find shelter. Soon they meet a kind huntsman who gives them a meal, a bath, and directions to a safe route. As they follow this route, they find a house that smells of baked goods. They soon enter and meet the owner, and Gretel & Hansel offer their services in exchange for shelter and food. But instead of safety, they discover an element of evil. This film is a horror film that tells a rather dark and gritty version of the well-known fairy tale.
The film tries to build tension with its visuals, and some scenes for the viewer may be uncomfortable to watch. The visuals are certainly praiseworthy, and the same can be said about the costumes and set designs. The witch’s look was great, and I can appreciate the film attempting to achieve something different as a horror film. I also enjoyed how the filmmakers decided to use a 4:3 aspect ratio instead of the standard widescreen ratio, making this film feel a lot older.
While there are many positive elements, the film’s plot and story are slow, and some moments were even vague on details. As a plot outline, there is not much to reveal. I was surprised at how long it took for our leads to meet the suspicious older woman offering food and shelter. Before this, the first act is filled with our leading characters trying to find work and roaming the woods. After the film gives an interesting story about a mother and a little girl, the film’s pacing, for the most part, is best classed as a slow burn horror movie. It is awfully slow, and therefore I found the pacing to be a significant challenge. The film does have some exciting reveals, but these only give viewers more unanswered questions.
Overall, I am generally half and half with this film. The film is filled with remarkable creativity as it tackles a well-known fairy tale and transforms it into a dark horror film. Visuals are great, including set designs and costumes, but as a slow-burning horror film, I cannot deny the plot moves at a relatively slow pace with little happening. Instead, the film relies on its solid visuals to tell the tale. The film’s ending and reveals are questionable, leaving viewers with unanswered questions just as the film becomes more engaging… and then the credits roll.
Gretel & Hansel (2020) is Now Available on DVD!