Sat. Dec 4th, 2021

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Gretel and Hansel’ (2020)

4 min read
It's not as bad as The VVitch where it almost seems like nothing ever happens. Something does happen in every scene, and it is creepy enough to be noteworthy.

Slightly better than ‘The VVitch’…

I suppose it wasn’t bad. I have a lot of the same complaints about this movie as I did The VVitch (2015). Visually, this movie was stunning. Though it wasn’t quite as beautiful as The VVitch the director put the same level of effort into making every scene a work of art. I think it even works a little better than The VVitch, even if the quality wasn’t quite as good. This movie is more of a psychedelic horror like Argento’s Suspiria (1977). It’s visually stimulating and deeply unnerving, likely in an effort to get the audience to trip. It even used synth music in the same stylings as the old horror movies to assist in making every scene discomforting.

However, like The VVitch, not a whole hell of a lot happens. It’s not as bad as The VVitch where it almost seems like nothing ever happens. Something does happen in every scene, and it is creepy enough to be noteworthy. But that’s basically it. In every scene, something ‘kinda’ creepy happens.

I suppose there’s not a lot more they could do with every scene, given there are exactly three characters and the plot is relatively similar to the fable Hansel and Gretel. We know, at some point, the Witch is going to try and eat one of the kids. We know, the kids will fight back, and likely the Witch will end up in the oven. There honestly isn’t a lot to work with so far as the story goes, and most of the movie boils down to scenes of the Witch being creepy around Hansel.

And yeah, as mentioned, it is unnerving and often psychedelic. There are multiple scenes that are presented as a sort of fever dream except it may or may not be actually happened. And yeah, a lot of that shit is kinda cool and it does effectively move the plot forward, but then it always boils down to a who lot of nothing.

Outside of that, the acting is pretty impressive, even for the child actor. The plot is smart and does a hell of a lot with the aforementioned ‘nothing.’ And I cannot stress this enough, the cinematography is stunning. Even the synth score was pretty neat, though a bit out of place.

I CAN recommend this movie, even if just barely. The fact that they make a solid point to have SOMETHING happen in every scene makes me think this movie deserves its day in court. I can likely recommend it to general adult audiences, though Hardcore Horror Heads will likely find this movie too boring. Or maybe just load up on drugs and put The Wall on in the background, Idontfuckingknow…

SPOILERS!!!

So, in order to make the fable of Hansel and Gretel a feature-length film, the plot mostly surrounds the Witch trying to seduce Gretel into embracing magic. Importantly, the Witch isn’t trying to eat Hansel and Gretel, just Hansel… well, more accurately, the Witch wants Gretel to eat Hansel. She wants her to eat her brother as sort of an unholy communion. The act of doing so will release Gretel from her earthly bonds and help her reject her humanity. So basically the whole movie is about the Witch trying to seduce Gretel.

This is why it’s so very much like The VVitch. That movie was also about seducing the main character to the dark arts. An important difference between the two is that this movie doesn’t need the presence of a vengeful God messing everything up. One of my biggest complaints about The VVitch (besides the fact that it was so bloody boring), was that God is basically the primary antagonist, not the VVitches. Basically, if God makes rules that evil can exploit, and does nothing to stop it or fix it, he’s not really doing his job very well, now is he. This movie takes God out of the equation completely. There is no God to rebel against, there is only the world, cold and cruel, where the natural laws are likely to eat up abandoned children like Gretel and Hansel. This movie didn’t need to put God into the equation at all.

It just makes for a better story. Gretel is given a choice to open herself up to a world of new powers and she alone must choose how she intends to rise above. No God, no devil, just humans, and human choices. It’s part of how this movie gets my recommendation but The VVitch does not.

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