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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Review


Made in Germany, this raucous adventure merrily refuses to follow the usual Hollywood route of blanding-down a fairy tale for the lowest common denominator (see both Snow White movies last year). It's still pretty stupid, but it's so unapologetically over-the-top that we're consistently entertained. And it helps that the filmmakers are clearly aware of how ridiculous the plot is, so they push it even further.

The film opens with a horror-style version of the Grimm Brothers' fable, then jumps years ahead as Hansel and Gretel (Renner and Arterton) achieve notoriety as bounty hunters specialising in tracking down and dispatching witches. When they arrive in a small village, they rescue innocent young Mina (Viitala) from the bloodthirsty mayor (Stormare), then vow instead to capture the area's real wicked witch Muriel (Janssen). The sheriff is sure they're con artists, so forms his own posse. Meanwhile, Hansel tentatively falls for Mina, and the duo also meet their teen super-fan Ben (Mann), who joins them as they head into the woods.

Norwegian writer-director Wirkola has created a gonzo action-horror movie out of the familiar bedtime story, complete with wildly outrageous creatures, fiery battles and almost as many explosions as a Michael Bay Transformers movie. Meanwhile, Renner and Arterton strut through medieval Europe like 21st century action heroes, wearing skin-tight leather, head-butting their foes, swearing like sailors and shooting massive guns at anything that moves. In other words, Wirkola's approach is essentially satirical, which allows him to indulge in astounding levels of grisly violence without it ever getting too nasty.

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'Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters' Premiere

Tommy Wirkola - 'Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters' Premiere Los Angeles California United States Friday 25th January 2013

"Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters" Premiere

Tommy Wirkola - "Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters" Premiere Los Angeles California United States Thursday 24th January 2013

Tommy Wirkola

"Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters" - Red Carpet

Tommy Wirkola - "Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters" - Red Carpet Hollywood California USA Thursday 24th January 2013

Tommy Wirkola

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters Trailer: Cheesy, Bloody, Insane

Jeremy Renner Gemma Arterton Tommy Wirkola Adam McKay

From the Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters trailer, it's hard to decipher whether this movie is really going to stink - like, Razzies territory - or whether it's just going to be a stonking over-the-top cheese-ball riot of a movie. It definitely could be the former, it really could be, but we're willing to hold off and wait for the release. It's certainly going to be something to talk about.

In case you're unaware, Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters is Tommy Wirkola's (Dead Snow) dark cinematic take on the well-known Brothers Grimm fairy-tale about a young brother and sister threatened by a cannibalistic witch living in a house constructed of cake and confectionaries. It's scared the living daylights out of kids for years, though the latest movie takes things to a whole new level. In Wirkola's mind, the siblings - played here by Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner - are a formidable team of bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. The trailer sees the ass-kicking pair firing machine guns, drawing plenty of blood, blowing things up, punching witches in the face and throwing enemies through wooden walls. Great stuff. 

Speaking way back in 2010, producer Adam McKay hinted at the possibility of further movies, telling MTV, "You think franchise, but in the doing, you just try to make one good movie. If I step back, it feels to me like, 'God, I could watch a bunch of these, just having read the script and knowing what Wirkola's style is.' I'd be very happy if he did three of them." Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters hits theaters in the U.S on January 25, 2013.

Continue reading: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters Trailer: Cheesy, Bloody, Insane

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Trailer

Fifteen years later, Hansel and Gretel are still suffering from the traumatic effects of a horrific ordeal they experienced when they were children when a wicked witch tried to make a meal of them after tempting them with her house in the forest made of gingerbread. After successfully slaying the evil creature, they became witch hunters; bounty hunters of the fairy tale world, constructing various brutal ways of trapping and exterminating the monsters that threatened villages around the world with the added benefit that malevolent curses and spells had little effect on them. One day, the Mayor of Augsburg, recognising their widespread notoriety and expertise, enlists the brother and sister duo to end the torment that is infecting one town and its surrounding forests at the hands of the sorceress Muriel who is kidnapping children with the intention of sacrificing them for the forthcoming Blood Moon. It seems Hansel and Gretel have finally met their match and, if that wasn't bad enough, the ruthless Sheriff Berringer has decided that he will embark on his own kind of witch hunt, endangering half the women in the town.

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Dead Snow Review

The first stateside-released film by Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola is cursed by concept in the way Donkey Punch was cursed by its title. Lesbian vampires and cave-dwelling, sperm-proxy demons are all well and good, but how does one ever live up to the promise of Nazi zombies (or is it zombie Nazis?), as Wirkola attempts to do in his Sundance-hyped horror-comedy Dead Snow?

As it turns out, you try to take it about as seriously as a Benny Hill marathon and for the majority of Snow, this tactic works. A pack of late-twenties skiers -- four dudes, three girls -- make their way up to a cabin at the top of a snowy peak for Easter vacation. They flirt and drink, go tubing, talk about movies and med-school, use an outhouse (the setting of some dozen instances of toilet sex caught onscreen) and entertain a surly intruder who explains to them that the mountain used to be a Nazi stronghold captained by the merciless Colonel Herzog. Naturally, no one has ever found the bodies of Herzog and his remaining men after the Russians overcame the German forces. And the gang has also found a small fortune in Nazi doubloons.

Continue reading: Dead Snow Review

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