Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

hansel and gretel witch hunter poster 2013 movie
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 4/10

Only an hour and a half

Dull and lifeless

Movie Info

Movie Name: Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Horror

Release Date(s):  January 17, 2013 (Russia)/January 25, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

hansel and gretel witch hunter jeremy renner

Guns replace acting?

Losing their parents at a young age, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) found they were immune to witches spells, and they started their witch hunting career.  When the mayor of a small town hires Hansel and Gretel to stop the kidnapping of children with a growing witch problem, Hansel and Gretel find themselves butting heads against the local sheriff (Peter Stormare).  The witches are plotting something involving the Blood Moon, and the lead witch Muriel (Famke Janssen) reveals she has plans Hansel and Gretel.

Directed by Tommy Wirkola, Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters is an action-adventure horror movie.  The movie was panned by critics but did well in the theaters especially in the international market.

hansel and gretel witch hunters gemma arterton peter stormare

My villainy knows no bounds…until it is over

When Hansel & Gretel was released, you could just tell what type of movie it was.  With the popularity of movies like Van Helsing and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which blended period-piece action with “horror”, you knew that Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunter was in the same vein, but it also looked even less original.

The film is formulaic.  Hansel and Gretel see only one goal…killing witches of the night.  Of course through the course of the movie they learn more about their own past, and that good and evil isn’t black and white.  The characters that are obvious plants are obvious plants and plot points are thrust in the face of viewers instead of cleverly being presented.  The movie also has a bit of humor which largely falls flat.

Jeremy Renner feels like he’s pretty much playing his Hawkeye character here with a cool, calculating style, and Gemma Arterton has slightly more depth in her character.  The movie has great actors who are generally scene stealers in Peter Stormare and Famke Jansssen, but both actors feel wasted here in cardboard cut-out villains (Stormare’s character is even more wasted than I expected).

hansel and gretel witch hunters famke janssen

Witch with the most?

The visuals of the movie at least go R-Rated.  If the movie had strived for a PG-13 rating, the filmmakers might have been forced to be more creative (which might have been a good thing), but I don’t think that even more creativity would really help this movie which feels rather bland.  The opportunity for great sets (like the candy cottage) are shot too dark and the richness of the setting isn’t enjoyed.  It is like Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow with darker and less visual sets.

Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters is a movie that can be missed.  The film feels like it is obviously attempting to set up a franchise, but a sequel never happened (despite a relative financial success).  Action horror often has a hard time finding a balance and Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters doesn’t find that balance.  The only advantage of the movie is that doesn’t take over two hours to do it…but even an hour and a half is too much.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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