CREDIT: Patrick Redmond/Orion Pictures

Starring: Sophia Lillis, Sam Leakey, Alice Krige, Charles Babalola

Director: Oz Perkins

Running Time: 87 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Stylized Pools of Blood

Release Date: January 31, 2020

Once upon a time there was a critic who was skeptical about the prospect of a randomly arriving adaptation of a classic piece of folklore, but he was open to the possibility of being surprised. So he headed into the woods, or rather, a multiplex in the middle of Times Square where he was greeted by The Hunter – the Orion Pictures logo. There was much rejoicing, for this symbolized a legacy of memorable genre cinema.

“I am an independent woman, but I also love my little brother,” said this version of Gretel over and over, or at least she might as well have.

“I loved The VVitch, and I think it’s a good idea to emulate it,” said cinematographer Galo Olivares.

Then The Witch (not The VVitch) appeared, and she lured the children in, as we all knew she would. As she won over her charges with promises of great feasts, she gradually revealed her true nature. She offered Gretel allyship, but at what cost? Was this to be a woke retelling of an evergreen tale?

Not really, but neither is it anti-woke. Sometimes, purely evil forces lurk about to prey on the desperate, and sometimes, satisfying cinematic visions come from the unlikeliest and humblest of places. With decadent set dressing and lavish production design, those hungry for fulfilling fantasy returned home mostly pleased.

Gretel & Hansel is Recommended If You Like: A fantastical feast for the eyes

Grade: 3 out of 5 Ovens