Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is pure guilty-pleasure viewing. It’s a violent and absurd extension of the classic fairy tale, in which Hansel and Gretel are now grown up – and hunting witches.
As children, Hansel and Gretel stumble upon a house in the woods made of candy, unaware that an evil witch lives inside. After murdering the witch, the children begin to make a career out of ridding the world of evil witches. Their journey leads them to a town where many of the towns-children have been kidnapped. Much to the chagrin of the town’s sheriff, Hansel and Gretel set out to find the children and kill as many witches as they can on the way.
The plot sets the film up for endless action set pieces with some wafer thin character development thrown in the mix. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play Hansel and Gretel and both are respectable in their roles. The actors certainly share a dynamic on the screen together, but ultimately the script does not leave room for them to show much range.
Script issues aside, the action sequences help to push the movie along. They are entertaining and frequent enough to sustain interest across the film’s short length. The violence in this film plays a big role in itself, with no shortage of bloody brutality, something that is sure to appeal to the film’s young-adult target audience. There is also a comedic element to this film, but unfortunately any attempt at comedy never really pays off, which is a shame considering the comedy team of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are credited as producers.
Visually, Hansel and Gretel excels in all departments, especially in creature effects. The witches all look great and grotesque. The visual effects are up to par and the 3D definitely helps add extra depth and dimension to the visuals. The world the filmmakers have created works well to compliment the dark-fantasy tone of the film.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is an utterly silly and mildly entertaining film, best reserved for moods where a lack of brainpower is required.
Despite portraying brother and sister of close ages, Jeremy Renner (Hansel) is actually fifteen years older than Gemma Arterton (Gretel).