Everyone knows the traditional story of Hansel and Gretal: two children who get lost in a forest manage to find their way to a house made out of candy. There, they encounter a witch who intends to fatten them up and cook them for herself, but eventually the children manage to defeat the witch and escape with their lives in tact. It’s a common fairy tale that children are told all over the world. But nobody quite knows what happens to little Hansel and Gretal after their encounter with the witch.

Witch Hunters imagines what does happen to them after the story ends. We catch up with Hansel and Gretal in the town of Augsburg where they prevent a woman from being killed as a witch. Here, we find out that since their first encounter with a witch they have become bounty hunters and are leaving no witch alive in their journeys across the country. But with a series of kidnappings taking place in town they realise that the fabled Blood Moon is approaching and Hansel and Gretal must do all they can to stop it.

It’s a pretty good idea for a film, you have to give it that. And with it being rated at a 15 here in the UK, it opens up the idea of this being a film for adults; blood and gore aplenty. Therefore, there is potential for a dark and gritty story to be told, just the way the Grimm brothers originally envisioned their work. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters decides not to take itself seriously and aims at becoming just a generic action/fantasy film. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Compared to other action/fantasy films of recent years this is a contender for the best, but it is not a genre that generally does well in cinemas unless it’s related to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. But when Hansel & Gretal gets it right, it gets it right. There is a lot of blood, there are some big laughs too (and a few little ones).

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton do their best in the title roles and these are two actors that I really do like. But it seems odd to me why Renner in particular would have chosen to make this film. I’m not really sure I buy into the brother/sister relationship which is supposed to be conveyed by the two actors despite good solo performances.

The special effects work was probably the best thing about the movie. Edward the troll (who names a troll Edward?) looks like a fantastic piece of CGI work and the witches do look genuinely creepy and a little bit frightening. It does feel, however, that despite being an enjoyable film there are a few too many flaws, leaving Renner, Arterton and Famke Jansen wandering around in hope of finding a better script somewhere.

My Rating: A generous 6/10, purely for entertainment value.

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