Review: ‘Gretel & Hansel’ handles fairy tale properly

Storybook takes screen, doesn’t exceed expectations


Courtesy of Orion Pictures.

Closely based on the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel,” the movie directed by Oz Perkins titled “Gretel & Hansel” follows the original storyline with several gruesome twists. Sister Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and brother Hansel (Sammy Leaky) are on their own after being abandoned by their estranged mother, which seemed out of character for her. They find their way to a group named the “Foresters” who will bring them work, food and a place to stay, yet they get distracted by a house with an elderly lady and a never-ending food supply.

With a creepy introduction, a story about a girl whose father traded her oncoming death for a strange power ends in tragedy for the mysterious girl’s family. Gretel tells Hansel the story like it was its own fairy tale, but as the movie continued on, the siblings slowly realize otherwise.

While boring, irrelevant scenes were common and there were lapses in the acting, such as unimpressed stares into space during tense moments, the horror film found ways to affect the audience. When the acting was good, tension and worry was heavily felt in the atmosphere. The younger actors especially conveyed emotions well through magnificent facial expressions when they weren’t staring into the distance.

Containing only a small amount of jumpscares, the ones that came on the screen were random and made seasoned horror movie fanatics spooked. The movie relied heavily on gorey, hideous scares, like guts, blood, limps and half-dead people. Camera angles with quick, sharp movements that followed the characters as they walked aided in the immersion into the terrifying world of the siblings.

Coming at not even an hour and a half, the movie surprisingly didn’t pack in as much as viewers would think. Some scenes could have been deleted or traded out to give added context to the story. The ending came by seemingly fast, making the audience feel as though it was rushed. Despite that, the ending few scenes were not expected by anyone, startling and astounding the viewers at the somewhat happy ending, at least for one of the siblings.

Full of a mix of awkward and stunningly beautiful scenes, Perkins creates another odd movie. Without the ending, this new horror film would have been just another bad one to add to the pile. This movie deserves a 2.5 out of 5 because of its new concepts and horrid situations, but not for the unimportant scenes.