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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - Review

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

IN theory, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters could have been fun. In practice, it’s just plain Grimm.

Inspired by the classic fairytale, writer-director Tommy Wirkola’s film visits the sibling children some years later as they are grown up, professional witch hunters (and played by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton).

Arriving in the town of Augsburg to investigate the kidnapping of multiple children by particularly aggressive witches, the kick-ass duo soon realise they have stumbled into the fight of their lives with a grand witch (Famke Janssen) intent on becoming immortal. To make matters worse, their presence is key to her plan.

From the outset, Wirkola’s movie exists to be overblown, loud and utterly outrageous. Yet while you can’t help but acknowledge the decision to go for broke, especially with the violence, it still doesn’t compensate for the many, many shortcomings.

The script, for starters, is diabolical while any potential the film had to have fun with the premise or the vast Grimm universe is lost amid the director’s insatiable appetite for fight sequences, none of which impress.

In fact, the choreography is downright poor – something that the 3D only makes more glaring.

None of the performances are given a chance to register either given the lack of time between set pieces, so any chemistry Renner and Arterton may have is lost in the mix.

Janssen’s villain is run-of-the-mill and shouty, there’s an annoying young sidekick in waiting and a token love interest who is eventually discarded way too cheaply.

Put together, Wirkola’s film is a charmless exercise in crass filmmaking that’s only saving grace is its brevity. But even with that in mind, it’s a deafening endurance test that feels sorely lacking in any real creativity other than to see how many ways you can make a body (either human or witch) go splat.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 88mins
UK Release Date: February 27, 2013