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Gretel and Hansel (2020)

February 5th, 2020 by unkle lancifer · 9 Comments

Any time ALICE KRIGE appears in a horror movie it is an occasion for rejoicing. She’s one of the greatest character actresses who ever lived plus she’s got a near LON CHANEY-esque talent for meshing with monstrous roles. The KRIGE was all kinds of mesmerizing in GHOST STORY (‘81), seriously sinister in SLEEPWALKERS (‘92), ten tons of threatening in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (‘96) and magnificently mortifying in SILENT HILL (‘06). In GRETEL AND HANSEL, she takes on the role of Holda, a haggy archetypal fairy tale witch with cannibalistic tendencies and it’s her most gleefully despicable creation yet (if you don’t count Tully, the literary agent she portrayed in BARFLY (‘86)). Director OSGOOD PERKINS appears to fully appreciate winning the lottery in the casting department and wisely allows KRIGE to fully KRIGE and the uncanny end result is like an inevitable monument foretold in the stars. The fact that KRIDGE spends most of her time here psychologically sparring with the formidable aptness of SOPHIA LILLIS (IT: CHAPTERS 1 &2) as the titular Gretel is even more to be thankful for. GRETEL AND HANSEL is a smidge tottery at times and I can’t help craving it had a more robust right hook but I sense it accomplishes everything it sets out to do refreshingly unconcerned with audience expectations.

GRETEL AND HANSEL is much more like a trip to the art gallery than the amusement park (I might even say it’s more of a spell/hex than a film/movie) so if you prefer the latter you may want to skip it altogether. I found myself in a kind of hog heaven of sorts but must admit that the candle-lit cabin coziness of everything made me momentarily drowsy at times (that’s less of a complaint than it sounds). This movie is undeniably stunning on a visual level, absolutely gorgeous; a shoebox diorama filled with perfectly lit construction paper silhouettes. It’s like GUY MADDIN (CAREFUL (‘92)) playing WIN LOSE OR DRAW with ALEXANDRO JODOROWSKY (HOLY MOUNTAIN (‘73)) and the answer he’s trying to illustrate is ROB ZOMBIE’s LORDS OF SALEM. It’s as if THE WITCH (2015) and EYES OF FIRE (‘83) played hooky from school and did mushrooms while swinging in hammocks listening to THE COCTEAU TWINS. I can’t say no to this sort of thing! The soundtrack is by ROB, the same dude who did MANIAC (2012) for crying out loud! I’m starting to believe watching a movie is a lot like being hypnotized and we’re all susceptible to wildly different triggers and cues. This jaunt tugged all the correct occult harp strings in my spine and I tip my triangular Aleister Crowley cap to it. Maybe for its own sake, it should have thrown the audience a bone in the form of a more explosive climax but I guess that would have been against its very nature. As it stands, it’s a singular dark visual poem that sure to become a totem among the esoteric. Sure the story is sort of like a trail of breadcrumbs left for the birds but this crazy catalog of cursed eye-candy left me convinced that one truly arresting image may be worth more than some entire franchises.

Tags: General Horror

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 5, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Oops, I forgot to add another nitpick= I think movies need to stop with the pulling hair out of a mouth visual and/or throwing up hair routine. It’s very tired.

    That said, I still dug it.

  • 2 raphaeladidasNo Gravatar // Feb 6, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    If this doesn’t get a 4K with Dolby Vision release Imma be mad.

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 7, 2020 at 10:37 am


    Yep, this is a must own for me for sure! And I’ve decided I must watch it at least once in Black & White! My eyeballs demand it.

  • 4 lottie_of_millhavenNo Gravatar // Feb 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Very much looking forward to this one, as I really enjoyed both of his previous movies. I’m also getting strong A Company of Wolves vibes from the preview, which is never, ever a bad thing.

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 7, 2020 at 6:36 pm


    Good call on the Company of Wolves vibe!

    There’s even some cartoon looking (fly agaric) magic mushrooms involved (that may or may not talk).

    Now I’m slightly wishing that Faerie Tale Theater’s Shelley Duvall was invited for a cameo. Although I very much enjoyed that you could count the cast on one hand.

  • 6 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Feb 7, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Shazbot – I did not realize that Osgood Perkins directed this. IHMO, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is one of the great underrated horror films of the last few years. Seems like most peopel simply did not understand it (there was no demon).

    As soon as I read Perkins’ name in your post, I stopped reading – did not want to spoil it of for myself. Sorry Unk – I’ll come back later after I have seen it.

    Also Alice Krige! Do you think she just flits around outside of lonely houses in the woods at night for fun?

  • 7 LiviaBNo Gravatar // Feb 8, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Wow! I just saw this and really liked it. The color palette, the synth soundtrack, the repetition of the triangle/threes motif. I loved the intimate interiors and the small cast. I really saw a lot of influence from The Company of Wolves, from the fairytale-within-a-fairytale plot to the visuals to the significantly female perspectives. It also reminded me a lot of the old Jim Henson’s Storyteller series in its lovely and surreal depiction of really grotesque subject matter. Also, witch movies are my jam! I give it 5 pointy black hats out of 5.

  • 8 robstercrawsNo Gravatar // Feb 10, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Hmmmmm. I took a gander at the IMDb and almost EVERYONE seems to hate this movie either because a) It’s boooring, Sidney, boooring!, b) It’s not a “real horror movie”, or c) It’s got a feminist agenda. I can safely disregard the last two gripes as typical IMDb blather (the site seems to have really gone downhill since they did away with the message boards), but the first is hard to ignore with such an almost-unanimous agreement. HOWEVER….I trust the opinion of this site, so I’ll watch the film like I had planned to anyway, but I’ll keep in mind to expect a deliberately-paced film. Gee! Kind of like Oz Perkins’ OTHER two films (which I enjoyed)! Fancy that!

  • 9 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 10, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    can’t wait to hear what you think. I have a feeling you are going to love it. Osgood is a real talent. I can’y believe he even played young Norman in PSYCHO II ! How cool is that?

    Right? It deserves all the pointy hats! It’s so visually stunning but in such a mellow organic way! It’s one of those movies I would not mind jumping inside and living in!

    Ah I miss the old IMDB so much! They really screwed up by getting rid of the message boards! There was so much vital information there! and then IMDB took over Box Office Mojo and ruined that too! Ugh!

    I have learned to ignore any review that complains about a movie being too slow. I think there’s a new generation of people with no attention span. If you enjoyed Osgood’s other films I think you are sure to love this one!

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