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A Comedy/Horror Mash-up That Quickly Loses Its Way After A Surprisingly Clever Introduction,
This review is from: Hansel & Gretel Get Baked [Blu-Ray] (Blu-ray)
When approaching a movie entitled "Hansel & Gretel Get Baked," you aren't exactly shopping for next season's Oscar winner! At best, you hope for a good time. And I'll tell you what, I was so stoked and surprised by how enjoyable I found the start of this experience. The opening third of the movie expertly combines stoner humor, skewed fairy tale lore, and over-the-top horror comedy. The screenplay is unexpectedly clever (silly, too, but enjoyably so) and I thought this might be a terrific sleeper surprise. Unfortunately, though, this delicate balance of creativity soon gives way to much less inspired action mayhem. Within a few scenes, the film all but forgoes the fairy tale parallel and drops the delightful stoner angle. Instead it focuses on its most generic element and becomes a rather toothless horror trifle with a witch and her zombie minions battling the young protagonists. Even this might be sufficient if it was super funny or unusual, but it simply isn't. In short, a potentially good movie loses its way and never really recovers.
Molly Quinn (Castle) and Michael Welch play siblings Hansel and Gretel as typical over-privileged suburban teens. Quinn and her boyfriend Ashton (a very funny Andrew James Allen) are enjoying a leisurely day of smoking. When their stash runs dry, he heads over to the home of a local Pasadena purveyor with a new strain of Black Forest weed. The kindly old lady doing the selling (Lara Flynn Boyle) may not be an ordinary drug dealer, though. Something supernatural is afoot and her dealings with Ashton are appropriately macabre, sufficiently gory, and quite amusing. I LOVED the movie up until this point. From here on out, though, the screenplay just shuttles a variety of characters off to the house to be dispatched in different ways. We are no longer even trying to be clever or funny, the lightly comic horror elements are supposed to carry the rest of the movie. Even Hansel and Gretel share relatively little screen time. He's just set up to be another clueless victim instead of a resourceful partner.
Lara Flynn Boyle (looking a little worse for wear due to plastic surgery) embraces the lunacy of the movie and turns in a nice performance as the witch. Quinn is appealing enough in an underwritten role. Poor Michael Welch barely even registers, once again due to an undeveloped screenplay. And if you're a Cary Elwes fan (his name is featured prominently on the DVD/Blu-ray cover), he's sticks around for less than two minutes. I'm going to say it again. There is a good idea behind "Hansel & Gretel Get Baked." But after a strong start, no one knew where to take that idea. After a great twenty minute introduction, the movie embraces a ordinariness that is disappointing. 4 stars (for twenty minutes), 2 stars (for the other hour plus). KGHarris, 6/13.