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Genre: Horror/Thriller
Starring: Cheon Jeong-myeong, Eun Won-jae, Sim Eun-kyeong, Jin Ji-hee, Park Hee-soon
Director: Yim Pil-Sung

Rating: PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)
Year Made: 2008



- Trailer
- TV Spots
- Interviews
- Making Highlights
- Making of Production Design
- Mini-Documentary
- Recommendation from other Directors



Languages: Korean
Subtitles: English/Chinese/Malay
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 1 hr 56 mins
Region Code: NTSC 3
Distributor: InnoF
orm Media




A reckless youngster Eun-soo drives to his mother’s, and has a car accident. When Eun-soo wakes up, he meets a mysterious girl and is led to her fairytale-like house in the middle of the forest. There, Eun-soo is trapped with the girl and her siblings who never age. Soon he learns all the adults who visited or stayed in the house have met mysterious yet terrible ends. More shockingly, their cruel deaths are drawn in details and made into a fairytale book by the children. Scared Eun-soo tries to find the way out, but the house is secluded in the forest with no way out. And then, Eun-soo discovers a book which tells a brutal end of none other than himself!


Among the entire fairy tales encountered during my childhood, Hansel and Gretel stood out as one of the darker, more morbid tales. Even though there’s the house of cake and all things yummy to a kid, the ideal of cannibalism and abandonment had left a rather unsavory dent in my memories. Fast forward to 2007, Korean director Yim Phil Sung (Antarctic Journal) revisited this classic and weaved it into a dark fantasy where the kids are not longer the victims and they have became rather sinister.

With some elements borrowed from Peter Pan (Spoiler starts the magical “believe in it” power for kids and the ageless factors Spoiler ends) and Alice in Wonderland (Spoiler starts the crazy turn of unexpected events and the protagonist’s desire to leave this magical place Spoiler ends), Director Kim had successfully created a quirky story that still bears some sort of resemblance to the classic tale and yet brought forth something new to the table.

On one hand, it explores the naivety of the children mind and the seedy manipulation of what the adult could think of. This film allows the viewers to ponder which is scarier, the tainted innocence that’s been empowered or the selfishness of mankind?

On the other hand, it revisits the issue of abandonment and the ramification that it brings to the victims. In the midst of going through the horrific impact of promises broken, it subtly touches on the importance of kinship that came as an unexpected surprise.

Although Chun Jeong-myong (Eun-soo) did a fine job as the lead actor, guiding us through the maze of this Korean Hansel and Gretel and engaging us to root for his quest to leave this “magical” place, the young actors in this movie ultimately stole the focus from him.

Without a doubt, much of the success of Hansel and Gretel relied on the three young kids. They have that strong on screen presence that seems to have charmed this reviewer endlessly. They all brought something different to the plate.

The boy in this movie (Eun Won-jae)’s was able to switch from aloofness and anger easily. His disgruntled expression transmitted the need for vengeance well and capably balanced it with wounded persona.

Sham Eun-kyoung (the older girl among the trio) has that delicate look that made the guys want to take good care of her. Although this might sound rather pedophile-ish, but she got that attractiveness to her that whenever she persuade Eun-soo to stay, I could relate to why he couldn’t say no to her. Her expressive eyes and range of emotion successfully was a convincing combo for the unlikely romance that her character wanted so much.

The youngest girl (the adorable Jin Ji-hee) however was the best among these three kids. Her bright expressive eyes and cute mannerism were a delight to watch out for (much like Puss n Boots in Shrek). But the impressive bits were when she delivered those menacing looks that made me shudder behind the blankets. I wanted to credit her ability to cry buckets on cue but then again, it might not be a talent for her after all.

Screen presence are not as easy to attain as good looks and I feel that if these three actors are given proper direction, great things would come for them.

The only problem for Hansel and Gretel was that it took too long to tell its tale. While it was fun to immerse in the imagination of the cinematography / production setup and the loveable screen presence of the kids, it got a bit tiring following the chain of events as the movie progresses. Particularly when it was intriguing to see how it will turn out and it felt that the movie made the viewers wade through a room littered with children toys to get to the final revelation.

The minor glitch aside, this dark fantasy had left a more pleasant and memorable mark. Basked in rich color, skilled cinematography and inventive soundtracks, coupled with fine acting and intriguing usage of fairy tales, Hansel and Gretel will leave you mesmerize and bring back a couple of points to ponder about.


This Hansel and Gretel dvd is filled with extras like a house is filled with candies and cupcakes.

The first two extras are the Trailer and TV spots for this movie. Then it’s followed by the Highlights of this movie (ie a condense version of this film (about ¾ of this film) shown in not so good quality video). This segment comes with English subtitles feature so if you are in a rush to sample this movie, the highlights would be a great option.

The fourth feature of the extras segment is basically an Interviews segment with the director and cast of Hansel and Gretel. It was shot rather hastily and the video quality look quite bad compared to the film quality in this Dvd. Nevertheless, catch this for the Director’s take on the difference between the classic tale and the new bland of dark fantasy. The rest of the interview segments are basically fluff stuff that has the actors giving the usual praises to the director, talking about their roles and promoting this movie to the viewers (which you probably have seen).

The Making Highlight used The Beatles’s “All you need is love” as a background music to playfully illustrate the “love” among the cast during the filming. This short and enjoyable segment showcased the on set camaraderie, the goofiness, the jokes and all thing fun during this film’s production. Personally my favorite among all the extras in this DVD.

Making of Production Design is basically a run thru of the stunning visuals of this movie with companion from the movie’s musical theme. Mini-Documentary is basically B-Rolls of the making of segments where a camera video the making off process without much explanation and often taken in awkward angles.

Recommendation from other Directors contains snippets of interview session with other famous Korean directors (such Boon Joon Ho of “The Host” fame) on their thoughts and expectation with this movie. Strangely a couple of directors weren’t introduced with English subtitles. Wrapping this Extra segment up would be a Photo Gallery where viewers could see selected scenes from the movie.


The vibrant colors and intricate artistic production set up are well presented in this 16:9 anamophic widescreen. This Korean 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtracks is aided with English, Chinese and Malay soundtracks to discover what this new take on an age old tale is all about.



Review by Richard Lim Jr



. Hansel And Gretel (Movie Review)

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This review is made possible with the kind support from InnoForm Media


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