Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hansel and Gretel Get Baked – review

Director: Duane Journey

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

I saw Hansel and Gretel get Baked at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival under the alternate title Hansel and Gretel and the 420 Witch. The alternate title means very little in the UK but I understand that 420 is a code for marijuana in the US (with a large amount of urban myth about the reason why the number is associated with the drug).

So, as it was, the title gave little away – though the drug nature of the film is pretty darn obvious from the get go. You might also be wondering why its being reviewed here… well, I’ll say energy vampire and elaborate more later.

I should also mention that this is a horror comedy and that comes with the normal warnings that comedy is probably one of the most subjective areas of film.

Cary Elwes as Ken
It starts with a meter man looking through the neighbourhood. The meter man, or Ken, is played by an almost unrecognisable Cary Elwes (Dracula (1992), Shadow of the Vampire & Hellgate) in a cheeky little cameo. The power company has been experiencing a surge in the area and when he checks #140 he sees their electric meter spinning out of control. He sees marijuana plants in a basement area, behind a frosted but open window. Putting his phone in to take a picture he is grabbed and pulled in.

Gretel, Ashton and Hansel
After the credits we meet Gretel (Molly C. Quinn) and her boyfriend Ashton (Andrew James Allen) who are a pair of stoners. He has just scored some Black Forest Blend marijuana for free courtesy of local pusher Manny (Eddy Martin), who in turn got it from Agnes (Lara Flynn Boyle), a little old lady in Pasadena – apparently it is really good stuff. Gretel’s brother Hansel (Michael Welch, Twilight, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 & The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2) comes in and finds a note suggesting their parents have gone away to see the Stiltskins. He manages to trigger the munchies in his stoned sibling and her boyfriend.

the gingerbread house
There is gingerbread mix in the kitchen so Gretel sets to bake whilst Ashton goes to Pasadena to score more weed. Agnes invites him in and is off to prepare some sardines when he notices an ornamental house made of gingerbread. She warns him to leave it but he breaks part of the roof away and discovers ID from the Third Reich through to the modern day. He passes out and awakens tied to a table and being buttered for cooking. He assumes it is a sexual thing and when she mentions eating him he says ok, but he doesn’t want to see. She removes an eye with a fork and eats it.

sucking youth
So, with Ashton missing, Gretel starts looking for him and all roads lead back to Agnes. Manny, his girlfriend (Bianca Saad) and other local criminals become involved, amongst others. As for Agnes, we have seen she is a cannibal, she is certainly a witch… but a vampire? Having kept Ashton alive and eaten a leg she decides he is more trouble than he’s worth. Chanting an incantation she draws the breath from him and becomes younger. Later she says that she sucks the youth out of her victims (Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter famously had a youth stealing vampire). This is, of course, a form of energy vampirism.

witch on camera
Beyond this she is tough to kill, can weave enchantments, has a habit of creating zombies and has a very intelligent Doberman Pinscher with demonically red eyes. When she has a photograph taken it shows a hag version of herself (although she still looks younger than she did at the start of the film). Lara Flynn Boyle has great fun with the role and some cracking moments (answering the door to the cops is a film highlight).

Agnes flirts
I mentioned it is a comedy but it isn’t gag filled, rather it has a vein of richly black comedy running through it. The suspension of belief is probably necessary – aspects do not stand to scrutiny – but the comedy carries us over these parts. One thing I disliked was the very (coda) ending that was a little too clichéd – but I won’t spoil it. However that was the last minute or so of the film. Beyond that I found this great fun and deserving of 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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