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This isn’t a review. It’s a fucking rant, ok? I’m not making any pretension about it this time. I just want to get this out of my system. After watching this shit I felt the need to scrub my skin with sandpaper – ON THE INSIDE. Bleach my fucking eyes, this film is bad.
I love Gemma Arterton, really, she’s talented and beautiful, an engaging actress with a touch of something indefinable. She had clearly left that “touch of something indefinable” in her dressing room, along with her “credibility”, “good taste” and “integrity” because she sucked balls in this bile-fest. And you know what’s worse? She was also, probably, the best thing about it.
She stomps around the screen like the steam punk equivalent of GI Jane, drawling in GAGA (ghastly American generic accent) and being generally odious and obnoxious. Her character is at first an arrogant mercenary with a superiority complex who character arc progresses her – ridiculously – into a simpering moron and then back to arrogant mercenary again.
Grumpy Cat Jeremy Renner, not so Hawkeyed this time, huh buddy? You didn’t spot this giant turkey as it blundered into your agent’s office. Hansel starts off as marginally less offensive than his sister, then appears to develop a nice guy/unfeeling bastard split personality disorder. His ‘characterisation’ revolves around him being diabetic, from the time the evil witch tried to fatten him up with candy. Yeah I laughed. Wasn’t supposed to though.
There’s something intrinsically repellent about a film that sides with witch hunters. I think it’s become too deeply ingrained in the modern psyche that witch hunters were murderers and sadists, for a film as poorly executed and vile as this to turn the tide. Yes it’s great when a film can created or reinvent a monster or enemy, but it takes at least a modicum of talent to pull it off.
There was something so vile and soulless at the heart of this film. The way it delights in being repellent. Take for example the early depiction of the “curse of crawling things” where a man is bewitched into eating grubs and insects until he literally explodes. This was delivered with the film’s usual dry, smug “humour” – and left an unpleasant taste in the mouth for all concerned.
I’m also bored with films suddenly pushing the “ugly = evil” notion. I thought we were past this? So the “evil” witches are comprised of conjoined twins, women suffering from facial disfigurements, tumours, severe psoriasis, old age, anaemia and bad hair days. While the “good witches” are rosy cheeked, with perfect skin, perfect hair, slender figures and all round wholesome beauty.
Yea, there are good witches. And Hansel and Gretel’s mom was a good witch – oh like we didn’t see that one coming. Pff. And she got offed by the Queen of the Evil Witches (Famke Jansen – yea well she’s nearly 50 and in Hollywood terms should be grateful for what she can get, amirite?) As you could probably guess by the time the opening credits had finished Gretel has good witch vibes too, even though these 2 dumb twats don’t figure it out until the last 20 minutes. Fuckwits.
Why is this film so odious? Because it is so smug, so self satisfied, with it’s two soulless, boring central characters strutting around and gleefully executing their prey out of a misplaced desire for revenge. It is so convinced that it is funny, so certain that it is cool and so utterly devoid of substance that it screams TRYING TOO HARD. The steam punk aesthetic is superficial. The characters are flat, at best one dimensional at worst exhibiting signs of borderline personality disorder/lazy writing. The humour is vile, the aesthetics are ugly, the sets are like something from a cheap theme park, the story is predictable, boring and contrived. The entire endeavour is a trashy waste of time. I hated it.
On the plus side…the costumes are quite nice. They might just enable you to fixate on Jeremy Remmer’s bum or Gemma Arterton’s boobs to the exclusion of all else, in fact I assume this was the intention of the film-makers all along. Didn’t work for me. Shouldn’t work for you either, you shallow bastards! And in the interest of shameless self promotion I have used my tags for this post in much the same way. If a search for “Jeremy Renner’s butt” brought you here I say: HAHAHA!