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31 Days of Guilty Pleasures – ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’

Jason McDonald

A few years ago I did a daily countdown to Halloween that featured some of my favorite scares from 31 different horror movies. This year I’m bringing back the feature, but this time we’re taking a look at some of my favorite guilty pleasures.

There’s no rhyme or reason to how these movies are being listed, so the placement on the countdown doesn’t denote any sort of ranking. Also, my definition of guilty pleasure is a movie that ranges from either being not very good to outright bad, but there’s something about it that still makes it endearing to watch.

Released five years ago this year this may be the most recent movie featured on the countdown.  “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” had all the markings of being a cult hit, so it’s no surprise that it earned terrible reviews.  However, despite it’s bad marks the film managed to do very well for itself in both the domestic and worldwide box office.  Its actually a bit of a surprise that we never got a sequel, but maybe it was for the best.

hansel and Gretel Photo

“Hansel & Gretel” starred Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the titular fantasy characters all grown-up.  The siblings have become witch hunters after their near death experience and now travel the world killing witches.

Directed and written by Tommy Wirkola, best known for “Dead Snow”, the film featured ample amounts of gore and cheesy B-grade humor.  At first glance it would be easy to write this one off as an “Underworld”/”Van Helsing” ripoff, but whereas those ones took themselves seriously, “Hansel & Gretel” embraced its absurdity.

Another area where it differed is that the film featured rather impressive practical effects.  One of the main characters in the film is a giant troll named Edward.  The creature is played by Derek Mears and is an amazing piece of practical effects.  The design and effects behind Edward is just something we don’t see these days.  This is the kind of thing Jim Henson Productions would make today.  Yeah, he’s not super realistic looking, but the fact that he’s tangible and not CGI makes him a remarkable creation.

If you haven’t seen it, this behind the scenes video on the practical effects of “Hansel & Gretel” is worth a watch.

Talks about a “Hansel & Gretel” sequel have been happening since 2013 and there was even some talk about a TV series, but after five years of not seeing any more movement on it I’m starting to think that it won’t happen.

At this point if it does happen director Tommy Wirkola has stated that he would not likely direct again.  And you have to wonder if Jeremy Renner or Gemma Arterton would be interested in coming back after all this time.  I think if you want to have any success of reproducing the high quality B-movie goodness of the first film you’re gonna need all three back.  With any component missing it just doesn’t seem worth trying.

But for now at least we still have this wonderfully cheesy movie to enjoy.



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