Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters


“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do: Provide B movie splatterfest fun.

Here, as in the classic Grimm fairy tale, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are a brother and sister who stumble upon a house in the woods made of candy. Within lives a witch who captures them and holds them prisoner, fattening them to eventually cook and eat them. But the two children turn the tables, and are able to push the witch into her own oven and burn her alive.

“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” shows that this incident led the two to grow to be mercenary witch hunters, traveling from town to town, collecting reward for killing practitioners of witchcraft. Of course, the witches of the film aren’t just normal townsfolk as in, say, the Salem witch trials. In this film, witches are heinous, monstrous creatures. They fly about on their tree branches, screeching, and when they’re grounded, they often leap about on all fours as an animal might. Hansel and Gretel battle these creatures with their arsenal of steampunk era heavy ordnance and often, with hand to hand combat.

When they stumble upon a hamlet that’s experienced a rash of missing children, they realize that something out of the ordinary may be happening. Indeed, with a “Blood Moon” pending, the local coven of witches (led by Famke Janssen) is kidnapping more children than ever, in order to perform a special ritual that will make them more powerful than ever. They will have the means to become impervious to fire.

It’s up to Hansel and Gretel to see that that doesn’t happen.

“Hansel and Gretel” never promised to be a good movie, and indeed, it really isn’t great. But there was always a slim hope that it might be a fun movie, and on that count, it definitely delivers. Renner and Atherton roam the woods like bad asses, decked in leather, carrying silly huge weapons, getting into fistfights and firing cross-bow bolts at spastic, half-human witches. Eventually, they even run across a poorly CGI’ed Troll, as well. But the movie never lets you forget that it’s a lark… that it’s not a candidate for any kind of critical acclaim. Instead, it’s a B movie action film about killing up some witches.

The witches here get shot, stabbed, spliced, beaten, burned, and beheaded. Blood flies and witches wail as the Hansel and Gretel frequently do what they do best. The lightweight plot never gets in the way of the slaughter of witches. It provides a basic framing and then lets the duo get to work witch hunting. Renner and Arterton do it in a no-nonsense style, too. Just getting it done as if they do it all the time and want to get the grisly deed behind them as quickly as possible. That’s not to say that the movie is without its share of dark humor, but I certainly wouldn’t deem this an “action comedy” by any means.

Disposable and certainly not of a quality that’s going to impress critics, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” nonetheless manages to entertain with a light plot and heavy emphasis on witch killing action. While I wouldn’t hail it as a great movie by any means, I know that I certainly enjoyed it.


Daniel Fogarty


52 thoughts on “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

  1. Nice review. I love cheesy B movie fun. Van Helsing, Fifth Element to name a few of my favorites. I never read movie rewies, just yours. The other guys seem to always want Oscar winning performances or favoring certain actor/actress.

    I just want to see Gemma in tight leather, see if she’s as hot as Kate in tight leather. Famke is already hot, lol. This will be a Red Box movie for me since I don’t get to movies very often.

    • Lol. Gemma looks outstanding, but they don’t exploit that fact as much as they do with Kate, unfortunately. 😦 LOL

      There’s a lot to criticize on this one, without a doubt. But when I have fun with a flick I have to give it credit…

      And this was fun. Dumb, B Movie, shoot em up fun. Hope you dig it once you rent it buddy!!

    • Yeah, saw you put a review up, just haven’t been able to get over to it. At “Parker” now, I’ll try’n swing by later.

      Definitely enjoyable though. Lol. Lotsa witches getting slain and stuff. Fun for me, I know that.

  2. Yep, I had fun watching this one too. You and I share similar thoughts in our reviews once again! Great minds, Fogs! πŸ™‚

    I just kept laughing at how much they kept getting beat up after doing their hunting for so many years. Fun movie

  3. Great review man, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who at least enjoyed this (Seriously, wtf is up with it’s Rotten Tomatoes score?)

    As you said, it never promised to be a good movie but it at least ended up being entertaining, which is exactly what I wanted from it

    • “Seriously, wtf is up with it’s Rotten Tomatoes score?”

      I was shocked. Honestly, I was pretty surprised when I saw how low it was. Granted on RT you can only give a thumbs up or thumbs down, so that’ll clear out a lot of fencesitters and stuff… but cmon. 14%? That’s just wrong. LOL

  4. There are good B movies and bad B movies and REALLY bad B movies. This was a good B movie. I went afraid it was going to be, waste of time and money bad and hoping for at least fun to make fun of bad. It ended up being so much better than I ever expected that it made the entire movie seem much better than it probably was. I enjoyed it, enjoyed watching it, wished it hadn’t ended so fast (it felt like a short movie) and wished that a person who died hadn’t. While it wouldn’t make any top 10 movies list I would make, it also wouldn’t make any worst 10 movie lists of mine either.

    • Exactly. Totally just shut your mind off and have some fun time.

      I’ll readily admit, my expectations weren’t high for it, but maybe having reasonable expectations were one of the reasons I was able to enjoy it.

      I guess I kind of wished that character hadnt died too. But I was happy they hinted at a sequel. Whatver. I’d watch H&G 2, sure!

  5. Hi, Fogs and company:

    To quote David Krumholtz’s “Mister Universe” from Joss Whedon’s ‘Serenity’:

    “You always bring me the very best violence!”

    Sometimes, a flick is just a vehicle for surreal blood, guts, gore and violence. As ‘Predator’ was years ago. Nothing more. Nothing less. It’s nice to see the tradition continue,

    • “Dumb Fun” is the operative term… And a Saturday couch session is exactly the right place for it. πŸ™‚

      I wouldn’t call it anything great or anything, but I enjoyed it for what it was…

  6. Hate to burst your bubble but Edward The Troll was not CGI. That was Derek Mears in a costume. (Check with Chris. He tweeted him). But I agree about the rest. It was just a kick-ass fun movie. Lotsa gore, lotsa action and some nudity. And I am curious if the F-Bomb was used back then. Seemed a little out of place. Gave this film a hearty 7.

    • LOL the F-Bomb did seem a little anachronistic didn’t it? Lol

      Chris tweeted me too, telling me about the animatronics. Heh, maybe that’s why the “CGI” looked bad. πŸ˜€

      It was a fun flock though, wasn’t it? πŸ˜‰

  7. Pingback: Grimm Grown Up: “Hansel and Gretel” Kick Ass « i'm a movie nerd

  8. I reckon I may try to catch this one after reading your review Fogs! Been sitting on the fence as to whether it would be worth it or not for a while now.
    Nice review! πŸ˜€

  9. Needed some Bruce Campbell attitude for the Hansel character. It’s what you expect but not as much fun as you expect.

  10. Pingback: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Review: Whedonites Assemble! | Rorschach Reviews

  11. Pretty much what I am expecting out of this film. Nothing too amazing. Just a lot of B-movie fun. Looks like Renner’s getting good with those crossbows.

  12. Well Dan, you know my first reaction to this flick was an “ok”. But after some thought, I basically agree with your grade. Although I would mark it a B-. I walked into the theater thinking this was a real action flick with a nice plot. But I was slightly disappointed with some of the cheesy stunts and at times being slightly bored. But after reading your review, I was looking at this flick the wrong way. You stated at the beginning of your article that it Provide B movie splatter fest fun. And you were right. Someone watching this needs to go into it as a movie that you can just sick back and relax. Not think too much into it. Because if you do you can defiantly find fault in it. Nice review Dan. This one you changed my outlook on.

    • Exactly… maybe you had higher expectations for it than you should have. I thought at best it would be stupid fun, so when it turned out to be that, I was pleasantly surprised.

      Glad to hear I used my sway to influence your thinking for the better. LOL Now if I can just get you to watch better movies all around! LOL

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