It’s called Gretel & Hansel. You see what they did there.
Directed by Osgood Perkins, Gretel & Hansel… well, do I have to explain the classic Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale to you?
Creepy house full of delicious treats and an even creepier old lady (Star Trek icon Alice Krige this time around), two siblings (played here by It’s Sophia Lillis and Sammy Leakey) who realise that no amount of food is worth hanging out with said old lady, then things go sideways into cannibalism from there!
It is, like all good fairy tales, deeply messed up, it’s just that Perkins’ take on it makes that messed up factor explicit from the get-go.
While it looks basically like the classic tale ramped up all the way to, and perhaps past eleven, Gretel & Hansel has some subtle tweaks to the formula beyond simply making its grimness more oblique.
The decision to change the age dynamic between Gretel and Hansel — and pushing Gretel into the focus, even just by simply just swapping the sibling’s position in the title around — is an interesting one, and, as Perkins told Entertainment Weekly, one that makes their relationship a bit more dynamic:
We tried to find a way to make it more of a coming of age story. I wanted Gretel to be somewhat older than Hansel, so it didn’t feel like two 12-year-olds — rather a 16-year-old and an 8-year-old.
There was more of a feeling like Gretel having to take Hansel around everywhere she goes, and how that can impede one’s own evolution, how our attachments and the things that we love can sometimes get in the way of our growth.
Gretel & Hansel hits theatres January 31 in the U.S., with no current Australian release date.