‘Gretel and Hansel’

By: Julian Cates jpc1045@plymouth.edu

The story of Hansel and Gretel has been told many times, more recently in the form of Hollywood movies. These movies are usually not widely seen as “good” or even “entertaining” as they are often over the top, are complete diversions from the original story, and usually star adults. “Gretel and Hansel,” however, is at least an interesting theater experience.

Sophia Lillis plays a great Gretel, a character that feels a lot like a medieval version of her 2017 “It” character. She brings similar energy to the movie and it works well with her acting style. Alice Krige is amazing in the role of the Witch. Krige makes you feel somehow safe in a film where you know she is a literal witch. She gives off the same charisma as a classic animated Disney villain. Krige’s Witch is by far the best part of this film and definitely makes it worth watching if you enjoy interesting villains. 

The main draw for this movie is the cinematography. The film is beautiful and full of visual symbolism in every scene. It’s colorful with great contrasting shifts to dark and dreary settings at all the right moments. It is very noticeable how much attention was given to the cinematography in this film. The movie jumps from claustrophobic shots to intimate close ups filmed through disorienting lenses that bend the curvature of the scene and all of it is beautiful. The film elevates itself beyond the tired tropes of the Horror genre, an uncommon but welcome shift from modern horror films.

The story diverges slightly from the original tale that—unlike other retellings—feels natural. 

Julian Cates

Artistic horror is a relatively unexplored genre. Modern artistic horror sometimes sacrifices story to focus on visuals or symbolism. “Gretel and Hansel” is one of those movies. The story diverges slightly from the original tale that—unlike other retellings—feels natural. 

The story isn’t terrible by any means, the exposition is a little odd but that’s not exactly the focal point of this movie. The story is enjoyable, but some parts feel very rushed. The main problem with the film is that the climax is too short. The majority of the movie is a slow build up to this climactic scene that is visually beautiful, calls back to previous foreshadowing, has high stakes with impactful consequences, but doesn’t occupy the screen long enough for a satisfying conclusion.