Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hansel & Gretel Get Baked and Forgetful: A Movie Review

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*a few minor spoilers are here.

Director: Duane Journey.

Writer: David Tillman.

Cast: Lara Flynn Boyle, Michael Welch, Molly Quinn, and Cary Elwes.

It is often interesting to see how a film markets itself. Hansel & Gretel Gets Baked makes note of producer Mark Morgan's attachment to the Twilight series of films. His name is mentioned instead of the cast as seen left. However, Hansel & Gretel Gets Baked is not really for the Twilight crowd. There are no glittery vampires here, nor werewolf lovers. Instead, there is almost an equal amount of both comedy and horror. Jokes abound and so does the gore. Meanwhile, actress Lara Flynn Boyle anchors the film expertly with her character, the notorious witch of German fairytales. All of the performances are solid, but this film will be remembered for its hilarity and light-hearted mood.

Gretel (Molly C. Quinn) likes her weed and so does her stoner boyfriend, Ashton (Andrew James Allen). Gretel gets the munchies and Ashton is ordered to track down more Black Forest High. Along the way, Ashton meets one shady drug dealer, a decrepit old woman with a taste for baked goodies. He is no match for this hellbound witch and soon, Ashton is on the witch's menu. Other characters, from meter guys (Cary Elwes) to local drug dealers, each find themselves conflicting with the wily witch and few can best her.

Let the witch hunt begin!

The horror elements in Hansel & Gretel Get Baked are limited. This is mostly a comedic tale. Of course, the witch is a character often seen in horror. The witch in this piece is sinister and conniving. She offers a few surprises, but there is little to fear in this piece. Much of the horror is relegated to several gore scenes. Early in this title, a character has his eye skewered. Another man has his throat slit and most of the blood soaked goods are on the big screen. The protagonists are often endangered, but the focus of the film is mostly on the comedy.

This picture offers lots of great comedic lines. Much of the comedy is focused on getting high or strange sexual practices. One drug dealer wants oral sex from the old witch, "without her dentures." But, a gummer is not on the witch's itinerary. He is eviscerated for his comments. In another scene, a minor character cannot remember what he is talking about, after smoking some of the Black Forest High. These scenes and many more will create laughter. The comedy in this film was the highlight for this viewer.

Much of that laughter is provided by Lara Flynn Boyle's great performance. Boyle, as the witch, is often taunting and teasing her next victim. Her expressions are subtle enough where the viewer will get the joke but the opposing character will not. There is a little bit of dramatic irony in this film. As well, Boyle is able to bring a solid presence to her character. When she is in the scene, she seems to control it, or the focus of photography is placed centrally on her. Her acting skills bring menace and charm in equal portions. Boyle's performance is one of many reasons to see Hansel & Gretel Get Baked, when it releases shortly.

This film will show through video-on-demand and via a limited theatrical run February 19th. Horror and especially comedy fans should take notice of this date. There are a number of well written scenes to laugh at in this piece. Hansel & Gretel Get Baked is enjoyable almost all the way through. Only the third act brings some tedium as scenarios are repeated. However, this modern retelling of the Brothers Grimm's famous tale is well worth a watch.

Overall: 7.75 out of 10 (a smallish film, some gore, great lines, well acted).

*this film was originally titled Hansel and Gretel and the 420 Witch.

The film's fan page can be visited here:

Hansel & Gretel Get Baked on Facebook

Showing dates for this picture are available at the Tribeca Film website:

Hansel & Gretel Get Baked at the Tribeca Film Website

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