When it comes to indie horror films, the tales of the Brothers Grimm are pretty much the gift that keeps on giving. The collected works of the 18th century authors are still inspiring adaptations on a regular basis, but none more often than the encounter of siblings Hansel and Gretel with a particularly ravenous witch. The latest? The title-flipped Gretel & Hansel, which plays up the prominence of It star Sophia Lillis in the first of the title roles.
Gretel & Hansel comes to us from art horror maestro Oz Perkins, the son of Psycho’s legendary Anthony Perkins, and now an accomplished horror director in his own right. The films of Perkins have a tendency to be deeply atmospheric, quiet slow-burns, but looking at the trailer for Gretel & Hansel it appears the auteur could be moving in a somewhat more accessible direction than the headiness of I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House or The Blackguard’s Daughter. The footage we see in the trailer certainly looks attractively shot, if low budget. Our premise, meanwhile, says the following:
The story is described as being set a long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside and focuses on a young girl (Sophia Lillis) who leads her little brother (Sam Leakey) into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.
As stated above, Sophia Lillis steps into what appears to be the central starring role as older, 16-year-old sister Gretel, the guardian of 8-year-old Hansel, played by actor Sam Leakey in his screen debut. The other heavyweight of The Witch goes to Borg Queen/Netflix Christmas Prince star Alice Krige, who appears to be relishing this opportunity to play the Big Bad once again. Upon closer inspection, the trailer does seem to imply that this version will be upending the story somewhat, as it seems that Krige may be trying to convert Gretel to her cause … which would mean partaking in a little brother feast. Somehow, we don’t see that going down, but if this went full The Witch on us, that would certainly make for a shocking swerve.
Gretel & Hansel is coming soon, scheduled for a Jan. 31, 2020 release by Orion Pictures and United Artists Releasing. Check out the full trailer below.