“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is an action-horror-fantasy film that has gained a cult following in spite of negative critical reviews. The film has an elaborate story, constant action, and a lot of blood, but its excess in every aspect is its downfall. It started with so much potential. The setting of this film is rather stunning with its dark, filtered, out of this world appearance. From the opening sequence, you are transported into this world. But then the line becomes completely blurred between serious and parody, which makes it difficult to know how to react each time a witch is blown into pieces or has their head stomped. The combination of 1800’s costumes and modern weaponry gives it an “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” anachronism that leans toward parody while the gore is simply too realistic to indicate humor. A censoring of the endless barrage of f- and s-words with a slight taming of the violence could have made this into a PG-13 film and found a great target audience among high school teenagers, but the film seems to miss its mark in many respects. In spite of everything, I would still probably watch this movie again for Gemma Arterton in the role of Gretel. Her performance is reminiscent of Jennifer Garner as it combines child-like innocence with a kick-butt attitude. The issue with the actors actually comes from the script, where each random insertion of an unnecessary f-word takes us out of the moment and we remember that they are just acting. I actually see potential for this franchise if they gear the sequel toward teenagers by taming down the violence and language to a PG-13 rating. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is confused because everything is so excessive, but focusing on this incredible world instead of the excess could give this film focus and bring the characters to life.
[Pictured: Gemma Arterton is reason enough to watch this film]