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Hansel & Gretel (2008)

  Tags: Asian Horror, dark fantasy, Eun Won-jae, evil kid, hansel & gretel, Hee-soon Park, Jeong-myeong Cheon, Ji-hee Jin, korean, Kyeong-ik Kim, Pil-Sung Yim, Sim Eun-kyung, south korea, Yeong-Nam Jang

Your rating: None Average: 6 (2 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
6

hansel&gretel.jpg
Rating #: 
6/10
Director: 
Pil-Sung Yim
Runtime: 
117 minutes
Cast: 
Jeong-myeong Cheon, Sim Eun-kyung, Yeong-Nam Jang, Ji-hee Jin, Kyeong-ik Kim, Hee-soon Park, Eun Won-jae


This is the latest effort from Antarctic Journal writer/director Pil-Sung Yim, whom seems to show promise within the genre by delivering some creative ways to keep the viewer scared and watching. However, much like his previous film, this suffered from pacing issues and took a little too long to get to the point.

Obviously using the old fairy tale as a template, the film follows a man on his way to his mother's when he is driven off the road and lands somewhere in the nearby forest. With the sun down, the man wakes up and notices a young girl with a red cape holding a lantern. Promising aid, she leads him to her house in the middle of the forest, where he meets the "parents" and her two siblings -- the stern and mean-looking older brother and the youngest girl of the three.

The man is forced to stay the night and notices something not quite right with the parents. The next day he attempts to walk back to his car, but ends up lost and somehow back at the house. Unable to reach his car and with the children and parents unwilling to guide him, he's forced to stay yet another night. However, when he wakes up the next day, he discovers that the parents have left a note detailing how they've decided to leave for a bit and the man is now in charge of the children.

At this point they've already established that there's something strange about these children, and the parents might not have been their parents after all. It doesn't take long before the man discovers that he's being held prisoner by three devilish children, all of which have their own dark agenda for his being there.

The movie is interesting from the start, however like I said above, it has pacing issues. The film's story just takes entirely too long to build up and finally reveal itself. We already know the kids are bad and they have some strange evil powers over things, yet, we're not actually given an answer to all of this until the very last bits of the film. Being that this is a near two-hour flick, the rest of the feature is basically just the guy trying various ways to escape and outsmart the children.

Eventually things pick up a little when a couple travelers find themselves trapped in the house as well, but even them and the true reason for their visit is kept at a slow pace. On the plus side, we're shown some great scenery and the film successfully delivers some euphoric and fantasy-like sequences that help remind us that this is still a somewhat dark fairy tale. Although the premise is original, some of what's revealed towards the end I found rather predictable.

Regardless, the film still offered an interesting and semi-original story, and some eye-pleasing scenes. Also, the performances by the creepy young kids were well done, in my opinion. Had the running time been trimmed about 20-minutes, I probably would have enjoyed it a bit more.

This was a creative genre effort that blends little dark fairy-tale-like elements to keep things fresh and interesting, however, the film also suffered from slow-pacing, with many of the scenes lasting too long or weren't necessarily needed. Then came the somewhat-predictable climax, leaving my final thoughts in a mixed bag. Worth a check for something a little different than the normal Asian-horror feature, but be prepared for the slow build-up.

Posted on September 30, 2009 - 6:39pm | FrighT MasteR

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