After a horrific encounter with a witch when they were both children, Hansel (Jeremy Renner – Avengers Assemble) and his sister Gretel (Gemma Arterton – Song For Marion) have now taken to a life of fighting evil. Armed with sophisticated weaponry and a fearless approach, Hansel & Gretel are bounty hunters that travel from village to village riding the world of ghastly creatures and supernatural enemies. But this time they may have met their match when a devious with named Muriel (Famke Janssen – Goldeneye) arrives hell-bent on destroying them.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a fun and atmospheric movie that surprisingly delivers on almost every level. The concept is clever and the tone is played just right to make this a satisfying watch that has something for every fantasy/horror aficionado.
Leading the line is the clever casting double-act of Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton. Renner is coming off the back of two major franchises having wowed audiences last year with Avengers Assemble and The Bourne Legacy. Here we find Renner cultivating yet another fine franchise for himself. Throw in another potential Mission: Impossible chapter and you have a star very much on the rise. His Hansel is a courageous soul who kicks ass and then asks questions.
Gemma Arterton seriously impresses in Hansel & Gretel and gives us a kick-ass heroine to champion alongside Renner. She is very adept at the physicality of the role whilst providing the beauty and guile that makes her so attractive to watch onscreen. She shares a good chemistry with her on-screen brother and her exchanges with Famke Janssen are always filled with tension and suspense.
The supporting cast are all solid with Peter Stormare stealing his scenes as a local sheriff who doesn’t trust our heroes. Famke Janssen hams it up brilliantly as the main witch Muriel whilst Project X’s Thomas Mann dutifully obliges as the token sidekick.
Hansel & Gretel subscribes to the 3D disciplines of throwing everything at you at once. This actually works surprisingly well – where subtlety goes out of the window in favour of special effects that are designed to grab your attention and never let you go. This is a very bloody movie with plenty of gore and hacked limbs that will give horror fans just what they desire. Throw in damn scary witches and some stylised comic-book violence and you have an action-horror that’s hard not to love.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters takes a familiar tale and spins it on its head to craft a quite delightfully piece of escapist fun. Approach this in the right way and you’ll have an enjoyable time. Think Solomon Kane with knowing gags thrown in – Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a very enjoyable scarefest that will leave a broad smile on your face.