Fifteen years after their close encounter with that gingerbread house, an all-growed-up Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) are now a pair of full-time witch hunters, roaming the countryside offing black hats.
Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola’s fun horror, Dead Snow, boded well for what he could do on a studio budget. Yet Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters belies its strong US box office. Having set up candy-house survivors Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as steampunk bounty hunters, it lurches from set-piece to set-piece — and by ‘set-piece’ we mean ‘scene in which there is much running about in the woods’. There are hints of chemistry between the two leads, but Wirkola keeps them mostly separated, trapping them in the hoary roles of manly rescuer and distressed damsel. Just call it Witchfinder Generic.
A lurching misstep from the Dead Snow director.