Sunday, 3 March 2013

"Whatever you do, don't eat the fuckin' candy."

Back in 2009, Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola made the brilliant and bonkers low budget zombie comedy Dead Snow (2009). Hollywood took notice. It boded well for what he could potentially do on a studio budget. Yet Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters belies its strong US box office.





Having set up our gingerbread house survivors, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Avengers Assemble, The Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton (Quantum Of Solace, Clash Of The Titans, Tamara Drewe) as the all-grown-up steampunk bounty hunters, it lurches erratically from set piece to set piece. And by 'set piece' we mean lots of running about in the woods chasing after Famke Janssen's (GoldenEye, X-men, Taken) evil Muriel and her coven of goth-punk witches. By the time Janssen hisses, "The end is nigh", you'll be praying she's speaking the truth.

With Will Ferrell executive producing and Wirkola keen to inject more blood into Hollywood horror, this revisionist 3D adaptation seemed primed for a classic action B-horror treatment. But instead of delivering a fairytale Evil Dead, Wirkola's film bleeds its premise into a husk that's devoid of life or humour.

There are hints of chemistry between the two leads, but Wirkola keeps them mostly separated, trapping them in roles which boil down to nothing more than manly rescuer and distressed damsel. Renner and Arterton at least look the part having had months of training to prepare for the physical demanding of roles.

You also have to applaud the extensive use of traditional special effects in a genre often driven by CGI spectacle. But despite some inventive production design from Hellboy's (2004) Stephen Scott, this a lurching misstep from the Dead Snow director.






No comments:

Post a Comment