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HANSEL & GRETEL (Hen-jel-gwa Geu-re-tel) (Korean)

  Publicity Stills of "Hansel & Gretel"

In Korean with English and Chinese subtitles
Lim Pil-Sung

Cast: Cheon Jeong-myeong, Eun Won-jae, Sim Eun-kyeong, Jin Ji-hee, Park Hee-soon
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Released By: GV & InnoForm Media
Rating: PG
Official Website:

Opening Day: 24 April 2008


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!

Movie Review:

My mother has always been doubtful whether her 27-year-old son is normal because of the countless colorful toys in his room. After watching this Korean horror thriller, I fully understand her concerns. The production stills would have told you the kids in this movie are truly troubled youngsters although their house is decorated with happy and jolly colorful toys.

The movie begins with a young man getting into a car accident after a tiff with his wife on the phone. When he regains consciousness, he finds himself in a forest and meets a little girl and who brings him to an adorable house deep in the woods. Anyone with a right frame of mind would know that something is wrong here, seeing the three kids’ strange haircuts and everything around them which seems too happy to be true. It doesn’t take 117 minutes for you, the audience to know that this is a tale of vengeance and realization.

The first thing that catches your attention is the intricate art direction of the movie. The moment our protagonist steps into the fairytale house, we are greeted with pastel colored décor plastered around the interiors. When he sits down to have meal, our taste buds are tempted by the lovely cupcakes and delicious looking pastries. When he walks around the house, we see vintage looking toys like trains, plush toys and gadgets you want to lay your hands on. Credit goes to the production design team for coming up with such a visually enticing set.

Points also go to the three kids who play the creepy inhabitants of the house. The eldest brother throws you a stare that will send chills down your spine. The second sister gives you a look that will melt your heart while the youngest sister sports a hair bob that tells you that she is someone not to be messed with (remember Anton Chigurhand his scary bob of hair in No Country for Old Men?). Cheon Jeong-myeong is our unofficial guide through the movie because we follow him as he unravels the mystery behind the spooked kids while trying to escape the woods into civilization again. Of course, by the end of the movie, he would have learnt a lesson about his own life.

Which leads us to the plot of the movie – Like other Korean horror flicks (The Last Breath, Voice, Wishing Stairs come to mind), there is a moral tale embedded in the scares and screams. This Lim Pil Sung-directed movie means well, but the twists and turns are nothing to boast about. The story is the same old thing: some bad guy does injustice to some innocent young kids, and they lived unhappily ever after, so whoever gets into their way become unlucky victims. Although nicely shot, the bittersweet finale still feels somewhat overlong and dreary. The only unique touch to this movie is the fairytale angle which will appeal to the young at heart. And as a bonus, you get to listen to Santa Claus speak in Korean too.

What kept us watching this typical Korean horror thriller were the fine production values and the captivating performances of the kids. And of course, the struggle to find out whether there is any hidden grudge or unhappiness in me, judging from the colorful toys around me as I end this review.

Movie Rating:

(Watch this Korean movie for its pretty visuals and creepy performances)

Review by John Li


. The Last Breath (2007)

. Voice of a Murderer (2007)

. Cinderella (2006)

. 9:56 (2006)

. The Host (2006)

. The Wig (2005)

. Voice (2005)

. Ghost Train (2005)

. The Doll Master (2004)

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