No, I’m not going back on my rants against Disneyfucation of good folk and fairy tales with this review. That’s something I can’t ever see happening. No, this time I’m here to tell you of a regrettably little-known Korean horror film, Hansel and Gretel (헨젤과 그레텔). If you enjoy anything like the other surreal science fiction and horror movies like I’ve been recommending, you need to drop everything (well, not literally… computers aren’t that indestructible yet) and find it. It’s currently streaming on Netflix, and you can find copies on Amazon as well.
I really don’t want to give too much away, since the movie does a nice job of subverting, inverting, and reverting our expectations about it. Suffice to say that it begins when a yuppie salesman is driving to see his sick mother whom he’s not very close to, and talking to his pregnant girlfriend on his phone when he runs off the road and winds up in the woods. Fortunately, a pre-teen girl finds him and escorts him back to the house she shares with her brother and sister and parents. Said parents smile a lot. An awful lot. And they’re dressed in blues and reds and greens that almost hurt the eye to look at. And the whole house is decorated like it’s always Christmas, or at least a child’s paradise. All the children do is sit and colour and draw and play with blocks and eat cupcakes. And yes, it gets creepier from there, especially when new guests (a Deacon and his girlfriend) arrive.
My only real complaint is that I thought the last five minutes or so, between the film’s climax and the epilogue, dragged a little too long. The epilogue definitely adds a nice cap to the film, though, and I’d be interested in seeing any other dark fairy tales that this creative team came up with. Put this together with Old Boy and A Tale of Two Sisters and it all points to the fact that I may be adding more international horror films to a collection that already has a lot of Spanish and Japanese movies on it.
Here is a YouTube link, though the picture on the Netflix version was a little better.