DIRECTOR Duane Journey WRITER David Tillman STARS Molly C. Quinn; Michael Welch; Lara Flynn Boyle SCREENING Today and Sunday at 12.50
When I first heard about this movie it was hard to tell how much it would be a drug-infused horror, like Shrooms and The Tripper, or how much it would go down the stoner comedy route, like Clerks or more recent Judd Apatow efforts like Pineapple Express. Hansel and Gretel: The 420 Witch — also known as Hansel and Gretel Get Baked — is actually more of a nostalgic 90s teen slasher in the vein of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
So here’s the plot: on the surface, Agnes (played by Lara Flynn Boyle who you might recognise from the brilliant Happiness) is a sweet, little old lady who sells a super-strong blend of marijuana called Black Forest High to suburban teenagers. In reality, she’s a witch who uses grass to lure her prey into her home so she can drain their life and, ultimately, live forever. When Hansel and Gretel start to become suspicious of Agnes after the latter’s boyfriend mysteriously disappears, that’s when things start to get really weird and twisted.
Interestingly, director Duane Journey touches on a number of complex themes, such as eternal life, Greek mythology and, of course, parabolic fairy tales, but the problem is that he doesn’t run with these symbolic ideas enough to make the whole thing thought-provoking, which is a damn shame because this movie has some genuinely creepy moments — Agnes’ words, “It’s just a curse growing old. Thankfully for you, you don’t have to”, before she removes an eyeball and hacks a leg from one of her many victims, is still sending nasty chills down my spine. Don’t get me wrong; it’s an incredibly fun film that doesn’t take itself too seriously with some fantastically gory effects, but it falls just short of its own expectations.