“Gretal & Hansel,” starring Sophia Lillis and Samuel Leakey, is an adaptive fairy tale set in the far countryside highlighting the two siblings’ journey in the dark woods in search of food and work.
Eventually, the two get lured in by a witch that lives in a house in the middle of the woods. They wander around the woods looking for work, after failing to find labor and become more hungry as time goes by. Holda, who is played by Alice Kringe, invites the two in her dark and sinister home for food and shelter. Throughout the film, the siblings stumble upon a more terrifying evil.
Director and co-screenwriter Oz Perkins, who is known for his two previous films “I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House” and “The Blackcoat’s Daughter,” took a darker approach. Taking a glance at the movie poster and the first trailer release, Perkins clearly wanted a more sinister vibe.
Furthermore, the tagline for the movie states: “A grim fairy tale.” The movie was advertised as horror yet rated PG-13. Films like “Hereditary” represent true horror because of the well-written story, the build-up, and the terrific acting.
With an opening weekend of $6.1 million in the box office, “Gretal & Hansel” sits in fourth place for this month’s box office, behind “Bad Boys for Life,” “1917,” and “Dolittle.”
The set design, as well as the cinematography, was very well chosen and not only visually attractive but also accentuate the internal struggle between Gretal and the world around her. The dark trees and the scary feeling of being surrounded around the mysterious woods gave the audience some sense of fright.
The portrayals of Lillis and Leakey were very well done and the inner monologue was present because it gave the story somewhat of a fairy tale feel that complements the rest of the movie’s aesthetics. With ominous music and a dark soundtrack, the execution of the film gave an imaginative twist on the simplistic fairy tale.
I think that some ideas could have been explored a bit more such as the character development, plot storylines, and the pace of the film. In addition, the ending of the film comes too quickly. The official running time was an hour and twenty-seven minutes and it wasn’t enough. The film is dark and it delivers the mystery, but not a fright fest of jump scares.
Overall, the film produced some very beautiful shots of the forested terrain which represents the fairy tale as a whole. Cinematographer, Galo Olivares, created a world that was attractive yet suspicious simultaneously.
My expectations were full of excitement but the slow-paced storytelling only set my rating of the film to average. I did enjoy the new spin on an old fairy tale but it isn’t particularly an inspiring or intriguing film. Films like “Hereditary” or “Us” express the content of true horror because of how it makes us feel at the end. Furthermore, this is a type of movie you can catch as the first time showing at the theaters but ultimately is a better view for a streaming service night.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.