- horror reviews - MOH 2020

Gretel & Hansel

IMDb Info

Release Year: 2020
Runtime: 1h 27min
Country: USA, Canada, Ireland, South Africa
Language: English
Genre Tags: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Plot Summary: A long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.

Poster - Title Card rating: notes: Visually stunning, witchy coming of age story. Pacing may be slow for some. Perhaps best watched as a mood piece.

Outside Reviews:

Peter Sobczynski
3.5 out of 4 stars -

Visually, the film is a constant knockout as Perkins and cinematographer Galo Olivares lend it a hypnotic and stylishly moody look that makes it feel at times like a lost work from Italian horror maestro Mario Bava, a sensation helped by the inspired production design by Jeremy Reed. The synth-heavy score by composer Robin Coudert adds an extra layer of Goblin-like unease to the proceedings that is also enormously effective. The performances by the three lead actors are strong and sure, all the more so because they all commit to their roles and never come across as though they are goofing on the material. (Although there are a couple of dark laughs here and there, the film is refreshingly straight-faced for the most part.) As for the hardcore genre buffs wondering how effectively scary a PG-13 horror film can be will be happy to know that Perkins creates a strong aura of unease that never lets up and only once devolves into anything resembling a cheap "BOO!" moment.

Katie Rife
Grade: B - Gretel And Hansel makes a spellbinding feast out of eerie atmosphere and occult imagery

As you might expect based on Perkins' other movies, Gretel And Hansel’s strongest asset is its unique and evocative style, heavy on geometric patterns and glowing orange candlelight. This is not supposed to be any real place at any real time: "Is it not there?" Hansel asks his sister when they first see the witch's house. "It isn't. And neither are we,” she replies. This is a fairy tale within a fairy tale, and both the film's costuming and production design take traditional European styles and add striking modern touches, like the solid black hood that covers one enchantress' face under her wide-brimmed black hat. Some of this imagery feels legitimately edgy for a PG-13 mainstream theatrical release, like the scene where a witch lays out a feast of human organs as a satanic shadow of the nightly banquet Gretel and Hansel enjoy with their new guardian. So if one of the boundaries being tested in this film is viewers' patience, the reward for - to use a refrain repeated throughout the film - "trusting the darkness" is well worth the commitment.