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Gretel and Hansel Osgood Perkins Rebounds from his Netflix Dud Grade: B-

Source: IMDB

Gretel and Hansel is based off the classic Grimm fairy-tale, taken on a new vision from Osgood Perkins. Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and Hansel (Samuel Leakey) are forced out of their mothers home by their own mother, as they go on a search in the woods for a home and for work. One day Hansel came across a house, where there is a plate of delicious food in the diner room. In that house was own by a strange elderly woman named Holda (Alice Krige), whom's finger tips were black and was fond of the children. She let the children stayed as Gretel felt there was an off vibe to this creepy old woman. For this review I'm going to take on a different approach to it, due to the fact some areas are stronger to just start off the typical format. So let's talk about the cast: All in all felt they were fine. Sophia Lillis playing Gretel had a decent performance, I guess the one scene where she eats shrooms was silly but then again that scene is a bit bizarre itself so not entirely her fault. There has been lots of talk surrounding the character Gretel, as there is complaints of feminism propaganda and yada yada. Honestly.... Shut up, God Forbid. For me Gretel was written just fine, she could've been explored more as a character, but how she was written felt like a start to finish arc was in place and it sort of completes. Like she starts out helpless in the woods, having to take care of herself and her brother alone, with no shelter or food. So you can say in a way Gretel's arc was to become an independent strong woman, that didn't need to rely on anyone for her security and safety. The narration from Gretel sort of helps dealing with the challenges of reality and her nightmares. Holda played by Alice Krige I thought had the best performance, I can see her creepy appearance being remembered by kids whom are introduced to this character. The film did a well done job with Holda's costume and makeup design, I do believe the image of this character will be remembered and still get under peoples skin. I felt Samuel Leakey playing Hansel had the weakest performance, as I found him completely annoying throughout the run time. I get that he's a naive child whom is completely curious about his surroundings.. But my God every time he's on screen I cringe terribly, like just shut up kid. So Osgood Perkins has made two movies The Blackcoats Daughter and I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. The Blackcoats Daughter t'was a solid debut, while I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House I thought was terrible as nothing happened. So when Osgood Perkins was going to work on his own vision of a Hansel and Gretel story, I was quite curious as to how he was not only to bounce back from his dud, but what his vision may consist of. Like his previous two films, Osgood Perkins does what he's familiar with and that's taking on the low budget approach once again. Which I don't mind at all, if you feel like you're most comfortable working small than working with a gigantic budget, do what makes you feel comfortable and I can tell you Orion Pictures made him have his own vision and didn't get in the way in what he was trying to make here. Gretel and Hansel's strongest aspect is used in a simple phrase in film: Style over Substance. I loved what Osgood Perkins did with this film as far as style, this is a beautifully shot film, with awesome simple set pieces, followed by a really good score as well. You can already have this film up for an Oscar nod as far as Cinematography because that's what makes this film somewhat memorable and special, like I enjoyed every single shot in this film, it honestly keeps the film alive from falling completely flat on it’s own face. The color pallet in some scenes, some set designs revolving the woods, houses, sheds, mushrooms, food, blue fire... Man I gotta tell you this film is just mediation as far as visual wise. The Score was pretty damn good too, I really enjoyed the composed music and especially the one tune with the scene revolving Gretel with trees and the final conclusion, I thought Owl City was going to break out in a song for those scenes. So of course Style over Substance can usually be a recipe for disaster, which in this films case... Not quite there, but yes the substance was a bit underwhelming. For a film like in this serious dark tone, I felt a couple of the silly moments didn't quite mesh with the tone of this film. Like I said earlier the shroom scene... I can see an entire audience laughing their ass off at it. I don't think that scene is bad, like Gretel and Hansel are searching for food as the shrooms were their last resort, so I understand that scene has a purpose. It's just the aftermath of the scene was so goofy it really wasn't needed, in fact I would've tried to create a nightmare instead of Gretel and Hansel laughing away, if you're going to go on a dark serious approach then please create more nightmares. More could've been explored with Gretel and Hansel as characters and even so Holda. You can say Gretel is near completed as a character, but still her reveal at the end leaves question marks as how exactly did she became that?! It's not really explained. Hansel on the other hand we really know nothing about, other than being the little brother of Gretel, so what is this character's purpose in this story?! The ending of the film I felt was on and off, it was a cool conclusion and where Gretel ended up made sense... But for Hansel's journey I must say... Really?! I don't know it felt kind of odd as Gretel would just leave Hansel on a difficult path like that, without giving him much guidance. So for me this film was not Perkins best work, but is certainly a major improvement from his last film absolutely. I can understand people hating this film: It's a heavy arthouse style, with limited substance so I can understand why people would hate on a movie like this. But for me it works just fine, like I can see myself revisiting this especially for the style aspect of the film. What I do appreciate from this film is that Perkins takes on a simple fairytale that has been barely explored, as Perkins tries to create something particularly unique. I found it interested throughout the run time and even though I have issues with it, I can still appreciate for what it is and it came towards a liking towards me. Overall, Gretel and Hansel was a fairly decent film. I only recommend this film if you enjoy arthouse style films, if you're a common movie goer skip it you won't like it. For what it's worth Osgood Perkins... I did kind of enjoyed your film, so I hope that helps you over come the annoying hate you're about to receive from simple movie goers, keep on rocking Oz. -Mitch Smietana

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