Gretel (Stephanie Greco), however, is hardworking and determined– which is a character contrast that is not at ALL played out. She works at a bakery that’s oh-so-cleverly called The Gingerbread House, which is conveniently located about 30 seconds from a super scary forest. When Hansel sulks off and gets his big, dumb foot caught in a bear trap, she catches up right away and leads him to a creepy cabin in the woods to find help… because walking the ten feet back to the diner would be silly.
I know it’s surprising when you knock on a seemingly random stranger’s door for help and a coworker answers, but if your brother is bleeding to death would that take priority over small talk? Not for our own Chatty Kathy doll Gretel! She’s so excited to see her boss, Lilith (Dee Wallace, of E.T. and Cujo fame—in other words, she hasn’t done anything worth noting since the 80s), that she rambles on about her surprise at it being her house for a few minutes before mentioning her half-dead brother. After all, politeness is much more important than platelets.
Of course Lilith turns out to be a flesh-devouring witch that keeps the “kids” she hasn’t cooked yet captive in a dungeon while pining for Gretel to become her understudy, but she bakes some killer sugar cookies.
While the plot progression is quite predictable from there, it wasn’t without some stellar moments. I think my favorite scene included dad attacking the witch with what appeared to be surprise buttsex behind a Volkswagen, which I maintain was the true climax of the movie.
Also awesome was the sheriff shooting a guy eight times and then mumbling, “Who was that guy, anyway?” Way to make German folklore into a true American classic. Bravo!
One thing all fairy tales have in common is they teach valuable life lessons, and while this movie strayed from the whole children and bread crumbs thing it wasn’t without its morals. Despite the unexplained (and inexcusable) mystery of where exactly the prisoners pooped, I did walk away having learned a lot. For example:
-If you have a fake wooden chest barricading the staircase to a dungeon, no one will hear people screaming as they’re being roasted alive.
-When cooking a girl, leave her bra and panties on. Extra fiber, and shit.
-Death is unpredictable. A gargantuan dude putting all his weight into stabbing someone is no match for a limp-wristed throat slash by a scared, skinny chick. On the other hand, a person who cries like a bitch over an ankle wound can be stabbed in the chest and not only walk away but comfort those around him. And a guy who runs away after getting shot by an arrow might get smucked by a car long after you forgot he’s even in the damn film.
-When confronted by a police deputy, it’s best to allow him or her to get the sheriff on the phone and communicate their whereabouts and who they’re with before clubbing him to death.
-If you mope around about your mother’s death for an entire movie, it probably won’t bother you a bit to see your dad stabbed repeatedly.
-It shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to fabricate an elaborate (and deadly) boobie trap in the woods.
-Chances are, any cute chick you meet in a dungeon awaiting their turn to be eaten by cannibals has daddy issues. Steer clear.
While the majority of this movie was more painful than a scalding hot skewer in the pooper, I was able to award the highly sought after Poopy Proclamation Prize early on (and although I just used a derivative of “poop” twice in one sentence, I sadly cannot award it to myself). Anyway, the award goes to Hansel, for the eloquent utterance that must come directly from the book: “You’re not leaving me out here in the woods, okay, where some rabid animal is going to feed on my nutsack!”
GRADE: D, like the unmentioned Dungheap that must be lurking somewhere in the dungeon.