Sunday, 2 June 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

A horror action flick based on the old German fairy tale, it had to happen really didn't it. Actually a nice little concept about what happened after the young duo escaped from the gingerbread house of candy and the nasty old witch. They became witch hunters (spoiler alert), searching ye olde lands of the 18th Century and sweeping them clean of all known witches no matter what form they take. Sounds good huh, well hold that thought.

Yep there are two fields for fantasy horror flicks these days, either the 'Van Helsing/Matrix' style approach or the sparkly 'Twilight/Warm Bodies' approach. This is obviously and clearly the first approach and it doesn't beat around the bush.

This film is just like 'Van Helsing', and when I say just like it I don't just mean in action and gadgets. No what I mean is this film starts off really well (like 'Van Helsing'), the entire approach, visuals and style is really well constructed. First up the opening credits sequence is a really nice animated sequence in that old medieval woodcut/parchment type method, very basic yet highly effective for the atmosphere.

The next thing I noticed were the excellent sets and costumes, production values in general. It all looked like an imaginative blend from Tim Burton and Guillermo del Toro, surreal German expressionism mixed with that bizarre twisted fantasy style of Del Toro. The next thing that I really liked was the witches, a combination of ideas which gave them a 'Van Helsing/Evil Dead/Army of Darkness' look, they seem more like demons as they thrash around, growl, howl and run around on all fours, very creepy and perfectly crafted.

So a great start all slowly goes pair shaped I'm afraid, for me anyway. Just like 'Van Helsing' the film just becomes way too daft incorporating silly ideas, going way over the top, too comicbook-like and loses its nice semi adult feel. Its still highly gory to the bitter end sure, but that seems more like a desperate attempt to keep you interested really. The minute the goodie witch whips out a gatling gun and starts shooting witches out of the sky like a videogame I gave up.

Another thing were the main witches, the head witch played by Janssen. At first the witches were all evil, nasty and ugly, then along comes Janssen looking hot as hell...even as a witch! She basically looked like a hot gothic dominatrix witch bitch! I loved it! but it really took the edge off the film. Then up pop her two hot gothic submissive witch friends, is this suppose to be horror? all this AND Arterton's ass in skin tight leather?! my God!

In the end they just ruin it with dumbness, the weapons didn't need to be so ridiculously over the top (plus immensely unoriginal), didn't need the over the top fights or slow motion, didn't need all the swearing really ('fuck' in the 18th Century?) and Renner is hugely miscast. Yes I know what the film set out to achieve and everyone should know what to expect but my point is they could have made a decent film here, less Hollywood gloss and more low key grit, such a waste.

That's the thing really, they had a nice idea here, quirky and fun, ripe for a solid dark, gallows humour type horror comedy like 'American Werewolf' or the Evil Dead franchise. But they basically play it safe, go down the predictable overused route and made a stupid comicbook type flick (pandering to recent trends methinks). Yes despite the gore its still just a childish comicbook flick, it could of been so much more.

PS. the troll is called Edward?! what the feck? is that some kind of sparkly homage to a certain sparkly film?!