BY: JOHN LINK MOVIES
Note to future filmmakers: If your most engaging character (and the thing doing your best acting) is a computer generated Troll named Edward, you probably want to reconsider the final product. Unfortunately, HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS was not so inclined.
Jeremy Renner is usually an asset to a film. But he seemed to realize what he was getting himself into and decided to mail this one in. Actress Gemma Arterton, playing Gretel, tries a little harder. Unfortunately she keeps taking this same pose which says “I want desperately to be tough, but I don’t know how!”
The story has Hansel and Gretel as adult hunters of witches. This is the brainchild of Writer/Director Tommy Wirkola, who previously found cult acclaim with his Nazi-Zombie flick DEAD SNOW. If you want to be nice, H&G:WH is a film which attempts to use brutal violence and silliness to create a fun experience. What happens in practice is that this is a movie which has alarmingly little fun and relies on Jeremy Renner beating up women and CGI violence which is never anything but unrealistic and less than scary.
But that is not all that disappoints about this movie. The prop guns look lame and plastic rather than cool. The sense of humor in this movie is off kilter. It’s never funny and never gets more than an eye roll at a cheesy line. There is a fanboy who wants their autograph, like that was a thing back in… oh. Right. We never really learn where or when this takes place. Instead it sort of takes place at some time in the past in some place where everyone has a different accent and yet sometimes the actors slip out of whatever personal accent they are using. I feel like a lot of alcohol was consumed just before (and probably after) people got on set.
There is a character who says she isn’t a witch. Only we know she must be a witch because the editing, script, and acting make it painfully obvious. I’m seriously trying to figure out if this was blatantly done in a way which makes the audience feel smart for figuring it out. But that would be giving this movie credit for putting more than three seconds of thought into any single aspect (other than the fight choreography, which is well executed in certain moments).
The only guy in this movie who even understands what kind of movie he is in would be Peter Stormare. Maybe it is all the training he got playing silly roles in Michael Bay films, but he at least has a good time with his Sheriff role. Too bad the movie doesn’t realize it and has him killed off in a manner similar to a certain recent Game of Thrones duel loser, only in a much less impactful way.
I just don’t know who the target audience is here. Who was yearning for Hansel and Gretel, but as grown ups killing witches? Nobody in this hour and a half flick is as cool as Ash from EVIL DEAD, a character this film so needs and so wishes it had. Seriously. Who is watching this and thinking, “Oh this is cool. The world needs this.” Apparently some people do, because a sequel is in the works. I’m already lining it up for Shitfest 2017.
I love horror/comedy, and I especially love horror/black-comedy. But there might be nothing more painful than a movie which gets this sort of genre wrong. I want to hear defenses of this film. What makes people like it? Am I getting to be a humorless old man without a sense of joy or a sense of humor (or humour if you want to be British about it)? Because, from where I sit, all we get here is something most fitting for a Shitfest.
Editor’s note: Not to take anything from my main man John Link today but… well… I know THE IPC gives people a rash most of the time and I think at least two people like what I write (and don’t just read out of pity and shame) so – if you have an IPC itch to scratch or just want to read something I put together for the fucking miasma that IS There Will Be Blood for my colleague and associate Cinema Parrot Disco, you can check out the stink by clicking the following button : )