Osgood Perkins directs a new take on the hold fairytale of Hansel and Gretel in his film Gretel and Hansel (2020). In the tradition of the recent hit The Witch (2015) and Perkins’ own I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016), Gretel and Hansel is a film built on atmosphere and mood rather than suspense and fright.
Gretal and her younger brother Hansel (Sophia Lillis and Samuel Leakey, respectfully) are thrown out of their home when their mother declares there is no more food for them to survive. Now they find themselves wondering the woods on their way to a new town in order to start a new life but then they come across a home in the middle of the woods which they believe is uninhabited. But when they enter into the home they come across food and drink and treats of all kinds. They soon discover the woman inhabiting the house (Alice Krige) has been there a very long time. Gretel manages to convince the woman to allow them to stay at the house as long as they help around the house. As their stay looms on, Gretel soon starts to realize that the woman is more than she appears and that she might be a witch. She also starts to experience strange and usual dreams that consume her and leaves her with the impression that she is where she should be.
The Witch goes about teaching Gretel about her ways but at the same time Hansel begins to question everything around them believing that they been their long enough but can he get the courage to convince his sister to leave before they are both consumed by the Witch’s power?
Cinematographer Galo Olivares and art director Christine McDonagh’s contributions cannot be overlooked in this moody and atmospheric film. The look of the film is fantastic but some audiences that may not be enough as it dispenses with suspense and any real horror elements for the most part. I will have to say that Krige (as usual) steels every scene she is in and the film is worth watching for her performance alone. If you’re fan of Osgood’s films then you’ll enjoy this one as it showcases a promising talent who wants to craft a different type of horror film.