|GRETEL AND HANSELTHE WITCHCLIP|
A brooding, beautiful, mystical bedtime story, Gretel and Hansel has been delegated to a release in the dead days of January, but deserves better. Oz Perkins‘s mystical, occult-heavy take on the classic folktale from the Brothers Grimm has so much style, and so many bold ideas, that it seems destined to become a cult classic someday – the type of film people find years from now and ask, “Why the hell haven’t I heard of this before?”
Perkins, who co-wrote the script with Rob Hayes, takes the basic framework of the tale – a brother and sister wander into the woods and encounter a witch – and use it to craft a distinctly feminine story – the tale of a young girl becoming a woman, and all the power – and scorn – that comes with that. That girl on the cusp of womanhood is Gretel, played by Sophia Lillis. Lillis has fast cemented herself as one of the best young performers working right now, and she continues her streak here, playing Gretel as a no-nonsense character who refuses to sit pretty and smile while lecherous old men are asking her if her “maidenhood” is still intact.
Teenage Gretel and her much younger brother Hansel Sam Leakey wander the countryside, aimless and hungry. Their father is gone, and their mother is unwell. After she chases the siblings from the house with an ax, the siblings stumble through the woods, where they first encounter a helpful Huntsman Charles Babalola, and then, later, end up tripping-out on some wild mushrooms. The scene of the siblings laughing in hysterics while the woods around them warm and blur out of focus is one fo the many indications that Perkins isn’t concerned with making his tale family-friendly. It carries a PG-13 rating, but it’s a hard PG-13, as the story goes to considerably dark places and unleashes a plethora of nasty, ghoulish imagery before the credits roll.
Custom dictates that Gretel and Hansel will stumble upon a magical house deep in the woods, and sure enough, they do – a modernist-looking abode that’s pitch-black, adorned with occult symbols, and loaded with delicious food. This is the house of Holda Alice Krige, an elderly woman who is never the least bit convincing as anything other than evil. Krige’s performance is so creepy, and so specific, that it’s hard to believe that the siblings would agree to spend time with her, no matter how hungry they may be.
But sure enough, the duo soon takes up residence in Holda’s house, and while Hansel goofs off in the woods trying to learn to use an ax, Gretel and the old woman grow uncomfortably close. Holda takes a shine to Gretel, and sees within her the same dark energy that she herself possesses. She wants to teach Gretel that she has the power to use magic as well, but since she’s female, she’s destined to...
Netflix will conduct a deep cleaning of “The Witcher” set after one of the fantasy series' actors tested positive for the coronavirus.
Kristofer Hivju, a “Game of Thrones” veteran who will appear in “The Witcher” Season 2, revealed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus in an Instagram post Monday. Around the same time, Netflix sent an email to the show's production team noting that an “individual” had contracted the virus. Though the company did not specify the individual, Deadline reported that it was Hivju.
Netflix told Deadline that it would immediately be closing production offices as well as Arborfield Studios, where the series is shot, and “arranging for deep cleaning and disinfection” of both. Netflix representative also stated the company was recommending “The Witcher” cast and crew self-quarantine for two weeks.
Netflix representatives did not return a request for comment. The company halted production on the series two weeks ago due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Despite testing positive for the virus, Hivju maintained a positive outlook on Instagram and told his 3.7 million followers that he only had mild symptoms. The actor, who portrayed Tormund Giantsbane in “Game of Thrones,” also urged others to practice social distancing and do what they can to stay healthy.
“My familiy and I are self-isolating at home for as long as it takes,” Hivju wrote on Instagram. “We are in good health — I only have mild symptoms of a cold. There are people at higher risk for who this virus might be a devastating diagnosis, so I urge all of you to be extremely careful.”
Hivju will portray Nivellen in “The Witcher” Season 2, a man who is cursed to take on a monstrous appearance in the franchise's lore.
“The Witcher” Season 1 hit Netflix last December and received an enthusiastic review from IndieWire's Ben Travers, who praised its performances and frequently ludicrous — albeit entertaining — premises. The series was also an apparent ratings hit and sparked renewed interest in the fantasy franchise, which is based on the books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
“The Witcher” is one of an increasingly large number of film or TV productions that has been impacted by the coronavirus. Netflix stopped production on all scripted TV series in films in the U.S. and Canada due to the virus, and other companies ranging from Disney to Apple have similarly halted production on many of their upcoming projects.
IndieWire is keeping track of all the entertainment industry-related events and productions that have been disrupted by the coronavirus.
Cursed Films, Shudder’s new series about the urban legends surrounding classic horror films, is a must-watch. They’ve already debuted an episode on The Exorcist, and this week they’ll be premiering a new ep devoted to Richard Donner’s 1976 classic, The Omen. We’re debuting an exclusive Cursed Films clip that features Donner and more talking about some of the spooky happenings that surrounded The Omen‘s production.Cursed Films Clip
Do you believe in curses? I don’t, but I sure love hearing about them. Especially when they’re curses associated with classic horror films. Shudder’s new series Cursed Films covers this very topic, and it’s a wonderful show. Rather than just sensationalize the material, the series – directed by Jay Cheel – actually takes the time to dig for the truth, and get to the bottom of it all.
One of this week’s new Cursed Films episodes focuses on The Omen, and in the clip above, you can hear all about the admittedly alarming amount of plane-related mishaps surrounding the pic. We learn that star Gregory Peck’s plane was struck by lightning when he was flying to England to shoot the film. Then, just a few days later, screenwriter David Seltzer was also flying to England and his plane was also struck by lightning. Lastly, we learn that still another plane Peck was supposed to be on actually crashed. And not just crashed, but crashed into a car carrying the wife and child of the plane’s pilot. Is that extremely bad luck…or the work of a sinister, supernatural curse? Cue the spooky Jerry Goldsmith music.
Cursed Films is a “five-part documentary series that explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously “cursed” horror film productions. From plane accidents and bombings during the making of The Omen, to the rumored use of real human skeletons on the set of Poltergeist, these stories are legendary amongst film fans and filmmakers alike. But where does the truth lie? Cursed Films reveals the events that haunted these productions through interviews with experts, witnesses and the cast, directors and producers who lived through the real-life events. Were these films really cursed, as many believe, or just the victims of bad luck and bizarre circumstances?”
The episode devoted to The Omen and another episode focusing on Poltergeist premieres on Shudder April 9.Source: Slashfilm.com