Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mockbusted #12: Hansel And Gretel - Warriors Of Witchcraft

[NOTE: Ordinarily I attempt to provide several screen shots for the films I review, but here, Google Image search literally provided only one, and since I watched this on Netflix, I couldn't grab any myself. So, sorry in advance if this review isn't as visually interesting as some of the other ones.]

Yeah, okay, evidently when I said in the Hansel And Gretel review that I might not be able to track down the other recent mockbuster surrounding Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, I somehow forgot to check Netflix. Its on there, very easy to find and to watch, though after sitting through Hansel And Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft, I wouldn't recommend it. Its directed by David DeCoteau, who famously directed my favorite Puppet Master movie and many other cherished childhood schlock under the Full Moon banner, as well as Dreamaniac, which might just be the worst film ever made. His Wikipedia page also notes a 1997 film called Predominantly Black Cats that is noted as a spinoff of Charmed, which I can't find any information about, but which I so hope is a modern blacksploitation version of Charmed. All of this is of course tangential to the fact that Hansel and Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft, is a terrible, terrible movie.

Here it is folks, the one screenshot. Savor it.

Warriors of Witchcraft follows the modern day twin descendants of the famous witch killing kids at a boarding school secretly run by a coven of bratty teenage witches under the sway of an ancient, soul sucking evil. Because I'm a fucking idiot, for some reason I don't see a movie with Eric Roberts and Vanessa Angel in it and instantly assume it is going to suck massive balls, so I didn't really have any expectations for this movie one way or the other. Its cheap, its boring, it never even tries to entertain me, and smacks of the kind of half-assed production that the mockbuster genre is all to often tagged with, I would argue for the most part unfairly. Despite the whole idea of a mockbuster being in part a bait and switch, most of them at least try to do something with the time and money spent making a movie, but this one doesn't, seeming to just shrug its shoulders and assume the only people watching are the ones gullible enough to think this was the big budget version, so the money was made with the deceptive cover art.

And it is deceptive by the way. The twins never wear leather or wield steampunk weapons in castle landscapes. As if this movie could afford any of that. Not that I'm criticizing it for a low budget, but some directors can mask that deficiency, as I've seen this one do many times before, but here he clearly just doesn't give a shit. The two main leads, played by actual twins apparently, play their parts well enough, but their characters are never given much to do and they are written I think a bit younger and more naive than they should be. Its an origin story about them each discovering their powers and their legacy, but by the end, I would have much preferred that we start with all of that already established and just gone from there. Eric Roberts plays a principal I think, or some other administrator, and I'm not sure because later Vanessa Angel comes in in much the same role at the school, and I couldn't tell their jobs apart. Roberts seems like he's deliberately trying to be bad so as to win a bet, and Vanessa Angel is as wooden as she's always been, without anything close to the freezer scene in Kingpin to justify her presence in the movie. She plays the villain, and I know that they try to keep that a secret and I guess its a spoiler, but if you don't pick up on that as soon as she comes on screen, shame on you.

Hansel And Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft is everything people think cheap straight to DVD mockbusters always are, a worthless attempt to cash in on a more mainstream property without any thought put in to actually making it entertaining. It gives genuinely good mockbusters a bad name, or at least reinforces the bad name they already have, which as a fan, makes it even worse. To think that I spend so much time extolling the virtues of some of these films, assuring you that there is occasionally a good and even great one in the bunch, that you might stumble across this as your introduction to the genre and be turned off for good just pisses me off. Watch the Asylum one I talked about before (link above), which compared to this is a freaking masterpiece.
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