I try to be opened minded for every movie I sit down to watch and more often than not I try to be excited for it. If I’m being honest, I was not excited for HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS all that much, but just enough that I had the strength to purchase a ticket and walk myself into the theater. I felt as though I should have been more excited given how much fun I had with ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER as a film cut from nearly the same cloth. Much like that film there is absolutely nothing overwhelmingly special about it- in fact most of it is pretty stupid, but I cannot deny that I had fun watching it.
Truth be told I don’t even think Jeremy Renner was excited to be in this either- you’d need only be directed from a line right from the film that seems to reference his involvement in this film where he says he left his dignity back over where something embarrassing previously took place. Renner stars alongside Gemma Arterton as the well known brother and sister that nearly became a witch’s dinner and since then they’ve been hunting the supernatural force wherever they are summoned. This time around though there’s something a bit more involved than their previous endeavors as a Blood Moon is approaching and the witch’s conspiring have a plan to make themselves invincible.
I’m not sure how many people are familiar with a little film called DEAD SNOW which features Nazi zombies, but director Tommy Wirkola is behind the camera again here and the results feel much tamer this time around. DEAD SNOW is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it has some pretty insane and fun gory moments where as HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS has its fair share of gore, it’s not quite as insane and fun as it could be. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun with it because honestly the action and the violence are essentially the only real reason to see this. There’s some pretty funny character moments that come out of the dialogue, but just know that the script here is absolutely atrocious.
The special effects in the film range from sort of decent to equally as atrocious as the screenplay and the action scenes tend to drift into incomprehensible territory. Not one action scene is without the effect of the camera shaking as though we’ve stumbled into a massive earthquake and only steadied for the bloody money shots. So while I could have appreciated some steadier filmed action, I’m at least grateful for a little payoff to the action.
The secret weapon of the film comes in the form of Derek Mears as the troll named Edward- I don’t think the film is internationally poking fun at TWILIGHT, but I like to think it is just for the extra laugh. Mears while physically is hidden within the makeup and added effects has the best “character” in the film, but is not utilized near enough. One of the best scenes in the film is a quick scene of the troll annihilating a group of people in spectacularly bloody fashion and I was disappointed there wasn’t more of it.
That’s pretty much all there is to detail about HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS. I suppose you “could” break it down more, but given none of it I felt was spectacularly bad or even close to great it would just serve to waste more time than it would help anyone make a decision to see it. In no way shape or form or in any alternate reality would I be sitting here telling you this is a good film, buy I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t kind of glad I saw it. I expected absolutely nothing from HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS and approached it with the same attitude almost everyone else involved seemed to and extracted as much entertainment out of it as possible- I think it’d be unrealistic to expect anything more from a film like this.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)