I was in shock that in less than a month that there could be two similar quality movies released in theaters. However, I guess January movie releases have a reputation to uphold. I really did think that I wouldn’t witness a movie worse than The Grudge, well Gretel and Hansel had other plans in mind. Folks, I don’t know how they could have greenlighted this stinking hulk of garbage?
Gretel and Hansel is based on the fairy tale stories by the Brothers Grimm, where two children are befriended by a witch who is looking to eat them. In this particular retelling, the witch is looking to bring on Gretel as an apprentice, when the brother and sister stumble upon the witch’s home in the forest.
The first 10 minutes of this film looked and acted like somebody’s student film from college. I think the reason for this was the camera angles and the film aspect ratio that looked like it was filmed on a camcorder you get at Best Buy rather than on a professional movie studio camera. Unfortunately, the film actually gets worse each minute thereafter. The only reprieve I felt was when the closing credits finally began to scroll. So, what makes this film so bad?
Rob Hayes wrote this mess and I do mean it is a mess. I wonder if he didn’t want to fall into the trap of just rewriting the fairy tale that everybody knows so well. So instead he takes this well-worn story and makes it unrecognizable. I get it that this is supposed to be edgy with the name switch from Hansel and Gretel to Gretel and Hansel but you still have to have a plot. It takes him so long to get us to see that the witch wants Gretel to be her apprentice. Painfully long, like 60 minutes long. There were numerous times during this movie that I wanted to scream out “just get on with it.” Hayes also does a really bad job of making these characters interesting. I felt cardboard would have been more interesting than the characters he gave us. Hayes has written other scripts before, but it shouldn’t shock us to see that none of them have amounted to much.
Speaking of characters, the acting was just atrocious. Samuel Leakey as Hansel was especially bad. He was way too whiny. Oh, my goodness, I was hoping that the witch would actually eat him, his character was that annoying. Sophia Lillis who plays Gretel is not much better. She has the same blank expression on her face for the whole movie. I couldn’t tell if she was as bored as I was or just didn’t have anything to go on from Hayes’ awful script. The witch Alice Krige was probably the only good thing about this movie, but her performance couldn’t help level out this pathetic.
Overall, I would give this movie a F (An Abysmal Movie). I had thought I have seen the worst movie of the year already, but Gretel and Hansel were up to the challenge of dethroning The Grudge. This film really feels like a student film that somebody thought would be cool to greenlight to go into theaters. I have never been so bored in a movie in all my life. The film is only 87 minutes, but it felt like it was an eternity. The acting was pathetic, the plot was none existent, and the visuals were pedestrian. Do not see this movie, read the original story from the Brothers Grimm, it is a lot more inspiring and interesting. I hope they don’t prove me wrong that there could be a something worst in 2020.
Gretel and Hansel is rated PG-13 for disturbing images/thematic content and brief drug material. This classless student film was directed by Oz Perkins, while this preconscious film was written by Rob Hayes. Gretel and Hansel is probably not the best career choice for Sophia Lillis, Charles Babalola, and Alice Kringe.