Film review: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (15)


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The Independent Culture

Having forced Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood through the makeover mangle, Hollywood now Grimms up Hansel and Gretel into a violent comic fantasy that splashes around the gore.

Following a prologue in which the siblings are abandoned as children in the woods, Hansel and Gretel, played as adults by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, earn a living as bounty hunters who kill all known witches dead.

But where is this benighted neverland, where the peasantry are gnarled grotesques from the Middle Ages but the weaponry is 21st-century and the American-accented heroes appear to have been dressed by Dolce & Gabbana? Perhaps even writer-director Tommy Wirkola doesn't know – or care – being too busy supervising the digimated sequences of projectile vomiting and heads exploding like melons.

Famke Janssen alone seems to be enjoying herself as a super-evil witch named Muriel. Arterton has a worrying weakness for this sort of twaddle (Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia) – surely her agent can find her something better? Renner looks merely embarrassed, possibly wondering how he got from The Hurt Locker to this inside four years.