Film School Rejects reviews films and occasionally offers Foreign Objects (foreign films). Last week, Rob Hunter reviewed a Korean version of Hansel and Gretel which is due to be released on DVD in the United States in November.
Eun-soo has a car accident while passing through a forest late at night and awakens to find a young girl in a red cloak offering him assistance. She leads him deep into the woods to her house where he meets her parents and two siblings. The family appears happy, especially the children, even if the parents do seem a bit apprehensive and nervous. The house is garishly decorated in holiday themes and kiddie designs, dinner is a plateful of cupcakes and cookies, and no one seems all that interested in helping Eun-soo find his way out of the forest and back home. Every attempt to leave leads him right back to the house and to the children. Soon the parents have gone missing, a mysterious new couple has arrived, and Eun-soo discovers the dangerous and tragic secret behind it all.
It’s not entirely accurate to call Hansel & Gretel a straight horror film as it’s interested in far more than simple scares. There’s a general sense of creepiness and dread and a handful of jump scares throughout, but the movie’s atmosphere extends well beyond the horrific. Like any fairy tale worth it’s weight in morality and metaphor the movie explores real world cruelty in a fantastic setting for maximum effect. The original Brothers Grimm story serves as a starting point, but the film is more interested in where brutality and lost innocence can lead if left unchecked.
You can also read more about Hansel and Gretel at IMDB, of course. There's another lengthy review from a viewer there who also argues against classifying the film as horror.
I'll admit I'm a wimp when it comes to horror films, even if two different reviewers state that this isn't true horror, they don't deny its creepiness. So I probably will never see it. But I do find it interesting that Hansel and Gretel hasn't been used more often for horror film scripts, at least not directly. Yes, the idea of children in danger is not as popular, but Hansel and Gretel can very easily be teenagers or young adults. This is one of the scariest of the popular tales with just as much potential as Little Red Riding Hood which has been used in this manner much more frequently.
And if you noticed the plural in the post's title, well, there is another Hansel and Gretel film in development apparently: 'Hansel and Gretel' Getting Ready To Kick Ass, With or Without Will Ferrell.
“We have a great first draft turned in on that, and we’ve already done notes and we’re actually having artist illustrations done of the look and the monsters and everything,” McKay revealed, saying that the project is full-steam ahead for his Gary Sanchez Productions. “We’re looking at turning that into Paramount pretty soon; we want to get that going because it’s really, really cool.”
Based loosely on the Brothers Grimm tale of two poor children, a house made of candy and a really scary oven, the live-action and heavy-effects film will pick up where the Grimms left off.
“The idea is that [Hansel and Gretel] fought off the witch, chucked her in the oven, and now they’ve grown up, it’s 15 years later,” explained McKay, who most recently produced “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” with Jeremy Piven. “They’re witch bounty hunters now, and they’re badasses.”
“There’s really clever stuff in it, like Hansel is diabetic from all the candy the witch made him eat,” McKay said of Wirkola’s script. “He has to do insulin shots every few hours.”
Now I don't even know what to think about that one...but I admit the description made me smile. Bounty hunters, huh? I rather hope that one is produced.