Gretel & Hansel Blu-ray Review

Experience the nightmare behind the children’s tale in this terrifying reimagining of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairytale for a new generation. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of Gretel & Hansel from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 87 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.65:1/1.55:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Alice Krige, Sophia Lillis, Samuel J. Leakey
Directed by: Osgood Perkins
Music by: ROB
Written by: Rob Hayes
Region Code: A

Release Date: May 5, 2020

“Follow the Crumbs”

Synopsis:

“Experience the nightmare behind the children’s tale in this terrifying reimagining of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairytale for a new generation.” – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

My Take:

A long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search for food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.

So, we are all familiar of the Brothers Grimm fairytale and its dark foreboding for little ones that like to talk to strangers. I like quirky horror stories, especially those that put a spin on a classic fable. Gretel & Hansel ventures pretty far from the beaten path, beginning with its title and, a narrative that focuses on a young woman who begins her coming of age journey under the tutelage of a witch that resides deep in a dark forest.

There is essentially no real plot development up front other than a brief flashback that kind of alludes to what may be now living in the dark forest, followed by quick introductions to Gretel and Hansel and why they end of wandering through the forest alone. The story gets a bit more interesting once they arrive at the cottage. Most of this is owed to the mysterious and creepy old woman residing within. Her specific motivations and intentions aren’t made clear initially but, its not long before you see where things are headed. The question of why is a little fuzzy and, this isn’t helped by what appears to be quite a bit of editing. Either that, or the idea was to leave quite a bit up to the audience’s interpretation. I couldn’t say for certain.

There were things that I liked about the approach but, for me, there wasn’t enough meat on the bone to make for a wholly gratifying film. Gretel & Hansel eschews typical genre tropes, opting to deliver more of a dark chiller both visually and thematically. To that end it succeeds. Alice Krige is sooo good at portraying these archetypes and handles this one with aplomb. I like Sophia Lillis and hoped that this character would give her a vehicle to showcase her talent but, there wasn’t quite enough here for her to work with.

Gretel & Hansel is a bit of a mixed bag that features a conceptually strong approach that doesn’t reach its potential. I don’t regret sitting down with it but, when the credits rolled my reaction to it would best be described as lukewarm.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for disturbing images/thematic content, and brief drug material.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

Gretel & Hansel comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is a solid video presentation that offers lifelike refinement during close ups and discernibly crisp definition within objects during mid-level camera pans. The color range perfectly sets the film’s thematic tone and has a reserved aesthetic that rarely offers bright, eye catching hues. Rendering is clean and depth is appropriate. Fleshtones keep pace with the look of the rest of the film and have a balmy but natural texture. Spot on contrast yielded crisp, bright whites and blacks are stable with discernible detail in shadows and low-level transitions. I didn’t see this as a problem based upon the visual style of the film. This is a clean rendering that showed no obvious signs of video related artifacts or anomalies.

Being a predominantly dialog driven film the ability to clearly render that aspect is an important element of the soundtrack. This DTS-HD Master Audio presentation had no problem in that regard. Voices were reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture that appropriately held sway over the front soundstage. The surround mix made apropos use of the sound platform to render the films elements. I found it to be subtly engaging as it recreated the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The soundstage offered a nicely balanced mixture of ambience/background sounds and music that characterized the mood of the scene. There weren’t any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix however the subwoofer was used to provide low bass emphasis where appropriate.

Bonus Features:

  • Storybook: Illustrations that captures the film’s cinematography and reimaging of Gretel & Hansel
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Based on the fairytale by the Brothers Grimm Gretel & Hansel’s reimagined tale is a bit of a mixed bag that features a conceptually strong approach that doesn’t reach its potential. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality. Gretel & Hansel will probably make for decent coffee table banter for curious genre fans. In that light I will give it a rental recommendation on Blu-ray.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems