The retelling of this old story in director Oz Perkins’ new film is a superb, dark adventure in the woods.
Gretel (Sophia Lillis, It) and her brother leave their disturbed mother behind to brave it in the forest. The moody wood is home to the witch, among other things.
The siblings find the stylized house as their hunger is getting the best of them. Once inside, the only light comes from lanterns and daylight through stained glass windows adding shadowy atmosphere.
Hansel gorges himself on the feasts laid out for them while Gretel sees through the facade. Soon though, she realizes her own talents as she learned from the witch.
This take is fresh and new, telling the story mainly from Gretel’s perspective. It’s dark, gloomy, but with a positive finding-my-own-way ending. The house and the woods are characters on their own, haunting the children throughout.
And Alice Krige as the witch is a revelation. Terrifying and eerily persuasive, she adds a maturity to this film that sends it into another level of satisfying filmmaking.
I highly recommend this. It’s a slow creeper, and it’s worth viewing every moment. It lifts the level of horror for the year (after the disappointing ‘The Turning’, I’m glad this was good).
4 out of 4 stars. Now playing.