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Hansel & Gretel Get Baked

2013 | 100 min | R | 1.85:1

Hansel & Gretel Get Baked


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Theatrical release date

 19 February, 2013

Country of origin

 United States



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Screenshots from Hansel & Gretel Get Baked Blu-ray

Hansel & Gretel Get Baked Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, February 28, 2013

In January they were witch hunters, and now they’re getting high. “Hansel & Gretel Get Baked” returns the fairy tale siblings to the screen, this time reimagined as a pot-loving, crime-solving young woman and her picture-snapping, straight-laced brother facing off against a drug-dealing witch. Obviously, it’s not a traditional retelling of this classic story of temptation, but more of a bizarre gorefest punctuated with a joke or two. Considering the ridiculous title and the production’s lack of budgetary might, “Hansel & Gretel Get Baked” might come across as an overlong, underwritten late night television sketch, but there are a few highlights here worth waiting around for, especially for those with a hankering for motivated no-coin, bottom-shelf entertainment.

Enjoying a sample of a new blend of marijuana that’s recently hit the streets of Pasadena, Gretel (Molly Quinn) and boyfriend Ashton (Andrew James Allen) are eager for bigger buy, with the young man returning to the house of Agnes (Lara Flynn Boyle), the kindly senior citizen growing the magic weed in her basement bomb shelter. When Ashton doesn’t return, Gretel begin to worry, taking to the streets to find the missing stoner, hoping uptight brother Hansel (Michael Welch) will aid in the hunt. Visiting Agnes with Bianca (Bianca Saad), who also can’t find her drug-dealer boyfriend, the pair discovers horrible secrets within the house, coming face to face with Agnes’s powerful witchcraft that’s turned loved ones into zombies, while others have been chopped up, cooked, and fed to her trusty Doberman. Trapped in a maze of enchanted marijuana plants, Bianca and Gretel fight to escape Agnes’s wrath, while Hansel enters the witch’s lair unaware that he’s about to be placed on the dinner menu.

Titling the movie “Hansel & Gretel Get Baked” makes the material sound like a goofball good time, playing to the stoner audience with pure storybook silliness, possibly co-starring Willie Nelson, Kevin Smith, and a series of fringe rap artists. What director Duane Journey and screenwriter David Tillman actually have in mind is more of a Herschell Gordon Lewis experience, positioning their picture as a dark comedy with a hunger for decapitations, cannibalism, and amputations. The blood flows (quite literally at one point) throughout the effort, with the filmmakers seeking to shake off expectations by taking a ghoulish direction with the weed-based tale of witchcraft and young detective pluck. While there’s little money to encourage an epic display of twisted flesh, gorehounds might be surprised to find that “Hansel & Gretel Get Baked” is much more than a dumb comedy.

As expected, marijuana plays a major role in the movie, with Agnes excitedly dealing her special blend to the kids of Pasadena, using the enchanted herb to entice stoners into her house for eventual cooking and spellcasting, sucking the youth right out of the young. There’s also Agnes’s basement grow house (Cary Elwes cameos as a utility employee who first discovers the bounty), which is a maze of magic-misted weed, beguiling rival drug dealers hoping to take over the old lady’s business, only to find themselves lost and eventually trapped in a cage. Blunts and bong hits are a common sight, yet the material remains clear-eyed once Gretel begins to gather clues, becoming more of an adventure than a sleepy comedy. As for the jokes, most are obvious and unfunny, though I did laugh out loud at a few of the visual gags, which took me by surprise. The cast also provides a boost to the proceedings, with unusual thespian commitment from all, while Boyle has fun as a gradually de-aging ghoul, though she’s most amusing buried in old lady make-up.

Fairy tale reference are scattered throughout the picture, the most inspired choice being Gretel’s use of Skittles to mark her progress through the grow house labyrinth. I wish the entire film retained that level of playfulness. Even at 80 minutes, “Hansel & Gretel Get Baked” wears out its welcome, while the limitations of the production grow more evident the longer the feature runs. Still, that a movie with this title and these recreational interests can remain compelling at all is a minor miracle, proving that a few drops of creativity and enthusiasm make all the difference in the world.

Starring: Lara Flynn Boyle, Molly C. Quinn, Yancy Butler
Director: Duane Journey

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