tek's rating: meh and a half

Gretel & Hansel (PG-13)
BRON Creative; Dread Central; IMDb; Kindertrauma; PopHorror; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; Hulu; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: potential spoilers.

The movie begins with the story of a baby who gets sick and is not expected to survive. So her father takes her to an enchantress, who removes the illness but in its place leaves certain powers. The baby grows into a creepy kid who has prophetic visions no one likes hearing about (even though they asked to hear them), and also the ability to cause people's deaths. She even causes her father to kill himself in pretty horrid fashion. So her mother takes her out into the woods and abandons her.

The story then moves on to a teenaged girl named Gretel (Sophia Lillis), who tries to get a job from an old man, but then she doesn't take it because he's pretty skeevy. Her family is impoverished, so her mother is angry at her for not finding work, and threatens to chop her up. So Gretel and her little brother Hansel run away. They soon meet a huntsman who gives them directions to a place where they might find food and work. But before they ever get there, as they walk through the creepy woods, they encounter a cottage that is filled with all kinds of food. An old woman who the internet informs me is named Holda (Alice Krige) lives there, and the children stay with her for some time. Eventually it turns out she's a witch. Meanwhile, Gretel has very creepy nightmares, which turn out to have been prophetic. For a reason that is, as far as I could tell, never explained, Gretel has magic powers, herself, and Holda begins to train her. But the witch has other, more sinister plans for Hansel, so Gretel finally turns against her, to save her brother.

Well, that's pretty much the whole plot. I'm leaving out some bits, including Holda's backstory, but I think I've said more than you need to know, if you haven't watched the movie already. The atmosphere of the film is nicely creepy, and things eventually get truly horrific. But I didn't find any of it scary, as much as disgusting and deeply disturbing. The characters were decent and the acting was fine, but the story was sometimes a bit boring. I wish I could have enjoyed it more than I did, because I definitely like the concept.

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