Hearing his name, I was reminded of the action film starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arteton released in 2013, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters . The main story is the same, where the two brothers meet a witch. It's just that one becomes an action film with lots of shootouts and one becomes a horror film with a slow story and captivating visuals. And the other one was also renamed, to be Gretel & Hansel to highlight the main character who is the older brother of the two, Gretel.
Film horror like this are taking a considerable risk. The film is full of many dream-like scenes, with captivating visuals that leave the audience to interpret for themselves. If successful, it will become a horror film as hypnotic as The Lighthouse . If not, it will feel empty like this film directed by Oz Perkins.
Gretel & Hansel is the latest attempt to adapt the legendary German origin, in which the two brothers fled their homes due to poverty in their families. The mother of the two also kicked them out because there was no longer room for them to live with her. Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and her sister, Hansel (Sam Leakey) finally decided to run away from their home.
During their journey, they encounter a hunter (Charles Babalola) who gives them directions for a place that can accommodate them. During this trip they also encountered a mysterious house in the shape of a triangle, which apparently was also inhabited by parents (Alice Krige). Unknown to these siblings, this old man is a magician who has mysterious powers behind him.
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Using a story that has been used many times by other mediums is indeed quite difficult, especially if we already know how the story ends. The story of Hansel and Gretel is one of the most well-known legends, and how this film wants to change the already popular story to be a little more original is something that is not easy. By adding a few new elements and a few new characters, Gretel & Hansel are actually able to create a story that is a little different from most adaptations.
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Unfortunately, however, writer Rob Hayes and director Oz Perkins have not been able to put to good use. The film feels really slow, and although I don't really mind how slow the storyline is but I also can't figure out what the message of each scene is. Like a beautiful but meaningless painting, every scene in this film feels very captivating to see but does not mean anything other than just for us to speculate and find out whether there really is a message to convey in the scene or not.
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It's quite a shame because not only is the foundation of the story very promising, but this film also has amazing visuals. How do they show mysterious figures cloaked in the forest, how they can take each picture symmetrically and the play of light like the glow of a candle in the witch's house illuminates the room with an orange color that seems both beautiful and seductive and mysterious at the same time.
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This film probably wants the audience to feel more sinister in terms of the visuals than in terms of the story. They want to evoke horror from how they present each scene. It didn't work because for a film like this, the visuals alone weren't enough to give the audience the dark and mysterious vibe they wanted. Compare that to similar films like The Lighthouse (yes, I rarely watch arthouse horror films ), where they were able to provide a much more gripping atmosphere because they not only rely on attractive visuals but also because they rely on both actors to take the film to the level which is more.
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Both of these films are mysterious films that inevitably have to rely on each of their characters to add to the mysterious impression they have. Unfortunately, the three characters in Gretel & Hansel do n't really stand out. Gretel seems very monotonous and has no passion in life, Hansel seems not to have a strong stance and just follows along, while the magician only relies on his dialogue to liven up the atmosphere.
That doesn't change even though the name of the film's title has changed, with the name Gretel on the front to make this film more feminine. Oz Perkins, told Entertainment Weekly , “We are trying to find a way to make the story into a coming of age story . I want Gretel to be older than Hansel, so we don't have two 12 year olds - that's a 16 and 8 year old. "
Unfortunately, the intention to make this film more of a coming of age story is neither too visible nor too pronounced in this film. These half-finished concepts are what ultimately make this film very slow and seem very long, even though it only lasts about 87 minutes. This is an example of a film where every scene is beautifully made and captivating to look at but behind it all there is nothing else. Story? Not much. Character? So flat. Eeriness? Not really even though it should have a potential that far exceeds the final result of this film.
- In Fatman , the figure of Santa Claus is not a fat person with a red coat and a smile. Here, he is named Chris Cringle played by Mel Gibson with a thick beard
- can clearly feel how many parts of the films storyline feel quite outdated when compared to similar themed films released in recent years.