Gretel And Hansel Movie Review: An Eerie But Over-Atmospheric Take on the Fairytale
Gretel & Hansel Movie Review: This is a perverse re-telling of a familiar story
- Movie Name Gretel & Hansel
- Director Oz Perkins
- Actor Sophia Lillis, Sam Leakey, Charles Babalola, Alice Krige
Rating: **(2 stars)
From the start, this eerie creepy weird visually stimulating but spiritually numbed take on the Hansel & Gretel fairytale lets us know, this one is not for children, although its two protagonists are kids, one a young adult, actually.
Gretel who occupies centrestage in this deep-forest ode to occultism , has just turned pubescent and is vulnerable to male predatory attention. In one specially sleazy encounter with a potential employer , Gretel is asked if she has been with a man yet. When she objects, the sleazy man reiterates his query.
This is a world where MeToo is now being thrust, much like the other revolutionary ideas that take the Grimm fairytale to a grim ‘feary’ tale replete with broad references to cannibalism and voodoo.
I really don’t see the Brothers Grimm approving of the steep subversions that their children’s story is undergone in the hands of a storyteller who fancies himself as some kind of a cinematic revisionist. Director Oz Perkins shoots the forest scenes with a predatory eye. Every movement suggests danger for the young woman and brother who are left alone and starving in a forest by a crazed mother who drives the children out of their home.
The witch, played with a hissing authority by Alice Krige is some kind of a kinky sorceress with a penchant for luring children into her dishy den. But wait. She prefers female children, and here’s where the writer Rob Hayes’ feminist ideas creep into the creepy climate. In the folds of the fearsome ritual of rapacious womanhood there is message of sisterhood that precludes the male species.
At one point Gretel, played with a seductive serenity by Sophia Lillis (seen in Netflix’s comedy I’m Not Okay With This) abandons her responsibilities towards her kid-brother (Sam Leakey, bright and wise beyond his years).
“You are not his mother,” the scheming witch whispers into Gretel’s ears. Strange that she should be lured into evil in spite of being a smart 16-year world-weary child-woman who knows trouble when she sees it. But then, this is what this twisted interpretation of Hansel & Gretel does: it wrenches the familiar fairytale from its innocent habitat and relocates it into a world of predatory evil.
Children are not safe in Gretel & Hansel. Neither are the adults who watch this perverse re-telling of a familiar story. Trust me, after watching this film you will trust no hostess who offers you a rich sumptuous spread in the middle of nowhere.Who knows the dread that lies beneath the bread?