This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Rob’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Note: marked as containing spoilers, but I avoid getting too detailed.
I commend this movie for its style and aesthetic. The framing of characters in shots gets a bit stale after awhile. But at least it was consistent in its choices, whether it be dialogue, camerawork, or tone. Most of my issues with this movie are nitpicks. There is no one thing that really bugged me about this movie. Rather a collection of small issues that hold me back from really loving this.
The two biggest issues were jumpscares and "dreams." The jumpscares that occur are mostly at the beginning seem to only be in the movie to make sure you are paying attention (one is just a raven flying in front of Gretel who is lost in thought). Which is just stupid. An audience member has already paid a ticket to see this movie. This isn't television where they might change the channel if you don't have their attention.
I also felt irked by the dream sequences. Dream sequences in horror movies are usually used to trick the audience into thinking something exciting just happened, but then the character wakes up and the audience goes "oh, they wanted to do something cool without having consequences." The dream sequences in Gretel & Hansel actually serve as world building. They provide information to Gretel and work as character development as she gains her powers. The sequences are presented to be clearly dreams, which is good and is how it should be done. But the one time where Gretel gains important information in a scene that has been presented as real life for most of it ends with her in bed and narrating "it didn't matter if it was a dream or not." Well, it kind of does because it will affect our perception of the witch after it!
I want to end this by saying I enjoyed the humor of the movie. It comes across in the dialogue the most and I got a few sincere chuckles. The comedy works with the movie and doesn't feel like they are trying to make a horror/comedy. Honestly, I would still recommend checking this movie out. Even if you don't enjoy it, it is so unique in its style that it makes it worth the watch.