Let’s get lost in the woods.

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Gretel and Hansel is the new film by Oz Perkins, who has offered up some tasty treats in the horror genre before. So, how does his reimagining of the fairy tale go?

Well, first off, this really isn’t much of a reimagining as it is a regrounding into the original Grimm story. We do have some added layers, but overall this is a fairly straight version of the story. We follow Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and Hansel (Samuel Leakey) as they are forced into the woods by their starving mother.

The two find a too good to be true scenario when they find Holda (Alice Krige) and her seemingly endless supply of sweets. Holda holds a dark magic and begins to foster Gretel into accepting her own powers and rejecting patriarchal control. However, something evil seems to be lurking just beneath the surface.

The story is thin, and this seems to be something folks aren’t liking. While the addition of feminist ideology and witchcraft is fun, the film doesn’t explore these areas deep enough. I wanted to see more of this developed and taken into a more profound place than the surface treatment it is given here.

Unfortunately, the thin story leaves little to be discussed on the plot. If you’ve heard the tale you know the highlights of how this adaptation is going to go…

The film does look great. Perkins visual flair and cinematic eye seem to be advancing rapidly with each release. Interesting angles, wonderful colors, and an eerie (almost timeless) set design make this a visual feast. We, like our young orphans will want to stuff ourselves on the images given.

Fans of style will love it. The camerawork and design are always top notch. The music is sometimes intrusive and seems to be designed to do a lot of the emotional heavy lifting but isn’t a major distraction.

I enjoyed myself in the theater and never felt the running time. However, I don’t see this one having a lot of staying power. I think it is worth seeing because of how beautiful of a film it is, but I don’t expect to see a lot of folks talking about this one come March.

Oz Perkins is an interesting director who seems to be developing a truly unique visual style. I look forward to his next one. For folks interested, I think The Blackcoat’s Daughter is magnificent and will make you a fan of Perkins storytelling.

Give it a go. Let’s support unique cinema at the theater!

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