Once again, you fine ISCFC readers are not to be disappointed – while not entirely inaccurate, the title is really misleading. Gretl is in it, but only shows up as a character in her own right a few minutes from the end, and while she offs one witch, it’s not what I’d call the main thing of the film. Imagine a film called “Private Ryan Escapes From The Nazis”.
This is the latest installment in our long-dormant Hansel and Gretel film review series, following on from Asylum’s “Hansel and Gretel” and some other poor studio’s “Hansel and Gretel Get Baked”. I’m doing it this way so the big-budget version with Jeremy Renner will appear more entertaining when I finally get to watch it, because it must be said that this is right down there with those two in terms of quality. Feel free to stop reading now, as to get the root of this film, I will need to use some spoilers.
No messing about with this film, as it gets right down to it. An unnamed man, known only as the Witch-Slayer, wanders upon a woman in the forest, knowing she’s a witch, questions her and kills her. He has a companion, Lara, a former witch who helps him with his slaying activities. Now, they both seem cold and emotionless, which makes it hard to believe they’re the people we’re supposed to be cheering on in this film. Everyone talks in that faux- Olde English manner that bad American filmmakers think is authentic (my ancestors swore like troopers, I’m sure).
The rest of the cast is made up of the baddie warlock, Abyss; the evil witch queen who’s obviously Shannen Doherty, even though the film tries to obscure her face for her first few appearances; and Ehren, the beautiful innocent who discovers her witch powers after being kidnapped by Abyss (who also killed her Dad). Ehren is tied to some magic stake thing in the woods, and it seems no-one gave her any lines but told her to just shout, as she just repeats “let me free!” and “who are you?” twenty or so times. Luckily there’s tons of makeup in the olden days, as Ehren and a few of the cannon-fodder members of the evil coven have plenty of eyeliner and lipstick. Perhaps it’s a spell.
Anyway, Ehren is rescued and she, Witch-Slayer and Lara go against the Queen, Abyss and the Queen’s gargoyle-looking familiar. There’s a rather brilliant scene where Wi…okay, his name’s Hansel, there’s zero dramatic tension in that reveal…Hansel tells Ehren about their tools and weapons. They have bullet-proof vests (which just look like bullet-proof vests), magic tazers, visors just like Geordi’s from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and necklaces that act as walkie-talkies. There’s a weird problem with magic at the end of this film, in that the central quest is to get rid of it, but our heroes use it all the time for their own ends. I don’t know, maybe that bit of circle-squaring was left on the cutting room floor.
So, it’s revealed to the surprise of no-one that the Witch-Queen is Gretl, Hansel’s long lost sister. We’ve got a few stories coming together – can Ehren control her power and use it for good? Will Hansel and Gretl be reunited? Will Abyss take over the coven for himself? Unless you’ve had a head injury recently, you’ll know the answer to all these questions. But the problem comes fairly close to the end, when Hansel and Ehren are trying to kill the witch-queen’s original body and free Gretl from her possession. Ehren gets possessed too, and Hansel just kills her. It’s jarring because it doesn’t fit the film – Ehren is the Luke Skywalker of the film, the small town kid who gets thrust into big battles after tragedy at home, realising she has great power along the way and trying to use it for good. Imagine “Star Wars” where Luke dies ten minutes before the end, and how much that ending would suck. Han (Hansel), Chewie (Lara) and Leia (Gretl) have a few more adventures before the end, in one of those cases of a film seeming to finish 4 times before it actually wraps up.
Is this SyFy Channel movie worth trying? Of course not, don’t be silly. But my cat was sat on my lap and I didn’t want to disturb her to get the remote. Seriously, I want to find the advertisers who allowed their products to be sold during this film and slap them, because it’s their fault this dross gets made. SyFy Channel, do something interesting please.