Hansel, he’s so hot right now. Well, actually, it’s not just Hansel, but Hansel and his sister Gretel who are so hot right now, appearing in entirely too many 2013 movies. I already shared my thoughts on the surprisingly delicious Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, but aside from that you’ve got cut-rate knock-off imitators like Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft, Hansel & Gretel, and Hansel and Gretel in 3D. Nice try with the Asylum technique guys, but if you’re going to try and capitalize on another film’s popularity, at least steal the topic and do something unique – like Hansel & Gretel Get Baked.
Sure, Hansel and Gretel are still facing off against an evil witch, but this time Gretel and her pothead boyfriend start the trouble by entering the house of a drug-dealing old lady who later reveals she’s been draining the youth out of unluckier customers who cross the evil broom-rider. No, really, our witch ditches her candy house for a sweet Pasadena pad, utilizing her “Black Forest” marijuana concoction to lure in innocent teens from around the area, using the gingerbread to simply battle even the biggest bouts of “the munchies.”
So could stoner humor and a doobie-rolling witch be the stanky spin Hansel and Gretel needed to be more than just a copy-cat? Yes, absolutely, and some undeniably fun scenes coupled with satisfying genre-acting helped make the slower moments feel less like a sluggish haze – for the most part.
First of all, welcome back Lara Flynn Boyle to relevance (somewhat), it’s sure been a while! It’s true, the Men In Black II vixen appears as the supposedly harmless little senior named Agnes, who obviously turns out to be the antagonist of the film. Starting out in heavy makeup and baggy apparel, Agnes smokes her way to Boyle’s much more youthful appearance, certainly showing she’s no normal granny. Sawing her way through victims with an all but remorseful attitude, Boyle actually is quite a pleasure in such a sadistic role, balancing sweet innocence with cocky brilliance – like a smokey, sexy snake in the grass. One that grows enchanted weed and commands a vicious pet dog. You know.
As for our Hansel and Gretel, both Michael Welch (Hansel) and Molly C. Quinn (Gretel) gave performances which can happily be enjoyed without the use of mind-altering drugs. Yes, both our titular siblings bring a fun energy to their role, be it Gretel’s incredibly airy stoner personality or Hansel’s straight-laced do-no-wrong mindset which keeps his sister in check. Don’t expect laughable independent horror acting by any means – Hansel and Gretel go toe to toe with Lara Flynn Boyle in the acting department.
I totally dug Molly C. Quinn as Gretel the most though, because she didn’t take the stoner personality all too far where even true stoners could call her acting bluff, but still kept her musings comical and perky, transported to that dimension of highness which turns people into giggly hallucinators – not that I’d know what that feels like or anything. Still, the stereotypical stoner is typically butchered by horror movies, so it’s nice to see Gretel stay grounded enough not to distract from Hansel & Gretel Get Baked.
I will admit, while everything works rather well in the dark comedy realm, writer David Tillman and director Duane Journey lost the horror fan in me along the way. What starts with a soul-sucking witch ends with a bevy of other unexplained baddies Hansel and Gretel are up against, thinking explanations can be ignored with the old “well she’s a witch” excuse. I will give credit to Tillman for staying true to the German fairytale though, keeping all the delectable treats and important plot points intact, like Gretel’s breadcrumb trail. This still doesn’t mean true horror fans aren’t going to be a little let down though when Agnes turns to comedy instead of scares, despite a few awesomely brutal murders. Let’s just say Boyle’s character has mastered the art of cooking human after all these years and doesn’t mind watching her future meals suffer, knowing where the “prime cuts” are.
So is a hit of Black Forest all Hansel & Gretel Get Baked make it out to be? Eh, it’s no Pineapple Express, but for those fans of dark comedy looking for a violent stoner romp, Agnes’ stash will still give you an enjoyable high. Lara Flynn Boyle, Molly C. Quinn, and Michael Welch will all ensure your trip is guided by very immersive characters, so at least you’re in good hands there. Just don’t expect a ton of chills and thrills if that’s what you’re seeking – Journey’s film is much better suited for the simple minded and easily distracted. So yes, light up that joint Hansel and Gretel fans, this is one enchanted interpretation that doesn’t go up in smoke. Oh yea, and when looking for munchies, avoid any old lady’s gingerbread. Trust me.