Review: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Poster for 2013 fantasy Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Genre: Fantasy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 27th February 2013
Runtime: 88 minutes
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writer: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen
Synopsis: After escaping from an evil witch in their youth, two siblings now devote their lives to killing them. When one small town is threatened, the duo must confront their past.



Hollywood can be a mystifying place. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is obviously supposed to be a children’s film. It reinvents the titular fairytale characters as arse-kicking warriors who fight off horrid-looking CGI witches. However, despite it being near perfect for kids, Tommy Wirkola chose to fill the movie with liberal use of profanity and regular explosions of gore, ensuring that the ideal target audience are shut out.

Although, it’s questionable whether even the right audience would’ve saved it. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a terrible film. There are failings at every single level and no-one involved is blameless for constructing this awful mess of a movie.

Firstly, the premise is flawed to begin with. No-one wants to know what would happen if Hansel & Gretel had anachronistic weapons and decided to shoot witches. It’s dull.

Secondly, the script is utterly terrible. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is full of clichés and bursts of dialogue that are supposed to be serious, but end up being far funnier than any of the film’s feeble stabs at humour. Judging by the style of the action scenes, Wirkola is evidently far more comfortable in the director’s chair than with a pen in his hand. Maybe he should get someone else to do his scripts in the future. Preferably someone with half a brain.

Unfortunately though, the blame must also be placed upon those in front of the camera. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are at their blandest in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters with Arterton especially taking a banal script and turning it into an absolute masterclass of forgettable tedium. Famke Janssen almost escapes unscathed as the leader of the witches, but this may be due to the impressive CGI more than her performance.

Immature, aimed at the wrong audience, terribly written and populated wholly by irritating performances, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is up there with the worst of 2013 thus far.

Naturally, a sequel is already in the pipeline. Oh Hollywood.


Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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