More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.29

Awesome: 14.29%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average85.71%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 1 rating


Latest Reviews

Fortress, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Hansel & Gretel (2007)
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Mel Valentin

"An overlong South Korean "Twilight Zone" episode."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 52ND SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: The “J-Horror” trend that began eleven years ago with Hideo Nakata’s "Ringu" has all but run its course, but don’t tell that to Yim Pil-Sung ("Antarctic Journal"), the co-writer and director of "Hansel & Gretel," a South Korean film loosely based on the familiar Grimm fairy tale. Less horror than dark fantasy, Pil-Sung’s film flips the Grimm fairy tale on its head, but to often frustrating results. At almost two hours, "Hansel & Gretel" is overlong and self-indulgent. Pil-Sung stretches a thin premise, partly borrowed on an episode of "The Twilight Zone," “It’s a Good Life,” well beyond even the most patient moviegoer’s breaking point, neutering otherwise superlative art and production design and cinematography and surprisingly nuanced performances from his three young co-leads.

On his way to a business meeting, a distracted Eun-Soo (Jeong-myeong Cheon) veers off a winding, deserted road and crashes his car after he spots something that may or may be alive. A bloodied Eun-Soo awakens and still stunned, wanders into the forest. Lost, he encounters a lantern-carrying young woman, Young-Hee (Sim Eun-kyung), wearing a white dress (a bad sign, since white represents death in Eastern cultures) and a red cloak (an obvious Little Red Riding Hood, but who’s the potential victim and who’s the wolf). Eun-Soo follows Young-Hee to the “Home for Happy Children,” where he meets Young-Hee’s brother, Manbok (Eun Won-jae), and younger sister, Jung-Soon (Ji-hee Jin), and their nervous parents. Inside, Eun-Soo finds a house crammed with toys and Christmas tree, but no working phone. With little choice, Eun-Soo decides to spend the night.

The next morning, Eun-Soo awakens to the still jittery parents and a plateful of pastries for breakfast. When Eun-Soo tries to leave, he gets lost and finds himself back at the Happy Home for Children. Suddenly dark, he decides to stay another night, but overhears the parents having a violent argument. The next day, the children inform Eun-Soo that the parents have left unexpectedly and ask him to remain. He refuses, but when he tries to leave, he finds himself back at the house. Eun-Soo slowly (very slowly) begins to suspect something’s amiss. Manbok takes issue with Eun-Soo wandering around the house or touching their things, including a “Hansel & Gretel” picture book. Before Eun-Soo can find any answers about the children and their mysterious powers (or the house’s), another stranded couple appears at the house. The man, Deacon Byun (Hee-soon Park), quietly claims God has sent him.

Hansel & Gretel certainly has a promising premise, even if some of the elements (e.g., creepy, sinister children with dark secrets, dark-haired wraiths) are familiar to anyone with even a passing familiarity with “J-Horror” (or “K-Horror” to be more accurate) films, but Pil-Sung squanders that premise through an overlong, flashback-heavy running time, tension-free and suspense-free scene building, and undermotivated characters. Hansel & Gretel stagnates in repetitive scenes of Eun-Soo wandering around the forest, only gradually realizing he can’t escape the “Home for Happy Children” and the children’s desire to make him their next caretaker. When Pil-Sung runs out of variations of the same scene, he introduces the new couple that function to make the children victims and Eun-Soo the hero.

Somewhere in "Hansel & Gretel" is a banal, obvious message about parental responsibility and a more interesting, potentially subversive message about the inherent dangers of permanent adolescence. Whatever the message Pil-Sung wanted to impart on his audience, he failed to credit them with the critical abilities necessary to decipher "Hansel & Gretel’s" major plot points and plot twists. If he had, he would have trimmed "Hansel & Gretel" by 20-30 minutes and found an alternative to the clichéd villain he introduces in the second half. Pil-Sung also would have realized that imaginative art and production design and a handful of dreamlike or dream-inspired images wouldn’t be enough to sustain "Hansel & Gretel’s" running time. That, alas, would have been asking too much of Pil-Sung or his collaborators.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18942&reviewer=402
originally posted: 05/11/09 02:00:00
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/12/11 jiropan stunning cinematography 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  27-Dec-2007 (NR)
  DVD: 08-Mar-2011

UK
  N/A (15)

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Yim Pil-Sung

Written by
  Kim Min Suk

Cast
  Cheon Jeon-yeong
  Eun Won-jae
  Shim Eun-kyeong
  Jin Ji-hye



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast