Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

Verdict: 5 ( Rental )

Premise: A modernized spin on the witch-whipping siblings in the woods, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is about two orphaned children who grow up to become professional witch-killers for hire.

Mini Review: “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is a tongue-in-cheek action horror flick that’s three times more enjoyable than it has any right to be. Yes, it’s akin to Van Helsing (2004) or “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (2012), except better. These witches are quite ferocious and fearsome. Famke Janssen (“X-Men”) is cast as the lead, wickedest witch. Jeremy Renner plays his role as Hansel just as straight and dead serious as his bomb expert in “The Hurt Locker.” Gemma Arterton chews the scenery and steals the show as Gretel; I was shocked by her screen presence. And Derek Mears (“Friday the 13th”) is wasted as an unrecognizable troll. (Peter Stormare is also wasted as a dim-witted sheriff.) “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is fairly fast-paced and has a good number of bloody witch battles with a lot of indistinguishable action, but I personally prefer my horror flicks to be set more in reality and much less fantastical.

Directed by Tommy Wirkola. Starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare. Sub-genre: Action-Horror. Runtime: 88 min. MPAA rating: R (for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality / nudity and language). U.S. theater release: January 25, 2013. DVD release: n/a. Country: U.S. Language: English. Mini Review by Jay of the Dead. 0003.

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