The spooky season doesn’t have to end when October is over, at least when it comes to movies. Thankfully, January always brings at least one exciting new horror movie to theaters, and in 2020 the new horror movie of choice in January will be GRETEL & HANSEL.
This creative and creepy reimagining puts a terrifying twist on the classic fairytale with the help of Sophia Lillis, star of IT and IT CHAPTER TWO. Trust us when we say this is not the children’s story you grew up with: GRETEL & HANSEL looks supremely scary, and we can’t wait to see how it transforms the old fairytale into a new nightmare. Read on to prepare yourself for the thrills and chills of GRETEL & HANSEL.
[Image credit: United Artists Releasing]
From the outset, one thing is clear: GRETEL & HANSEL is most definitely a horror movie. Sophia Lillis stars as Gretel, who ventures into the woods with her younger brother Hansel, only to find themselves in the home of a witch – and leaving doesn’t appear to be an option. The trailer for GRETEL & HANSEL makes the film look quite similar to another extremely effective horror movie from recent years: THE WITCH. And that’s definitely exciting.
Most moviegoers are familiar with the story of Hansel and Gretel, which originated as a piece of German folklore that was recorded by the Brothers Grimm in their 19th-century collection of fairytales. The story goes like this: Hansel and Gretel are young siblings who are left alone in the woods without any food. They stumble upon a house made of cookies and cakes and candies and begin to eat it. It turns out the house belongs to a witch, who built it as a trap to capture children so she can cook and eat them, and Hansel and Gretel must fight to escape her clutches before they become supper.
That’s the story most people know, but the original tale is actually quite twisted, not unlike the new GRETEL & HANSEL movie. Hansel and Gretel’s dad is a woodcutter struggling to make money to feed his family. The siblings’ stepmother decides to make their lives easier by ditching Hansel and Gretel in the woods to fend for themselves. The kids learn of the plan and cleverly bring a piece of bread on the journey so they can leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way back home. Unfortunately, birds eat the crumbs and Hansel and Gretel get lost. After wandering in the woods for days they come upon the candy house, where they are held captive by the witch, who enslaves Gretel and keeps Hansel in a cage for weeks on end. Gretel ultimately outsmarts her, trapping the witch in her own oven, and the kids make off with the witch’s valuable jewels and treasure.
Your familiarity with this fairytale is exactly what sets up GRETEL & HANSEL to be an uneasy new horror movie experience. Surprise is key. We think we know what happens in the story and how it ends, but because it’s such a well-known tale, the movie has to be different – which means you don’t actually know how GRETEL & HANSEL will play out or if both kids will make it out alive.
Joining Sophia Lillis for this bone-chilling adventure is newcomer Sam Leakey, making his acting debut as Hansel. Alice Krige (SILENT HILL) plays the witch, with British actor Charles Babalola (“Black Mirror”) as a hunter who helps Hansel and Gretel on their journey.
More importantly, GRETEL & HANSEL comes from one of the most exciting directors working in horror: Oz Perkins, whose father, Anthony Perkins, starred in the classic horror film PSYCHO. Perkins’ previous films include THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER (starring Kiernan Shipka) and Netflix’s I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE. Both of those films played with viewer expectations in thrilling and terrifying ways, and we can’t wait to see how Perkins surprises us this time.
All images courtesy of United Artists Releasing.