***Witchhunters fighting a coven of witches in the forest***
Presumably a sequel to the 1812 fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm about a brother & sister and their run-in with a witch in the forests of medieval Germany, Hansel and Gretl (SIC) are now in their late 30s or so. Hansel (Paul McGillion) desperately searches for his sister who was apprehended by a witch queen when they were kids; he teams-up with a former witch, Lara (Sarain Boylan), and the vengeful daughter of a blacksmith, Ehren (Emilie Ullerup). Shannen Doherty is on hand in a vital role and Jefferson Brown plays a warlock.
“Witchslayer Gretl” (2012) was SyFy’s knockoff of the big budget “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” (2013), which debuted eleven months later. There were a couple of other mockbusters: The Asylum's “Hansel & Gretel” (2013) and Lionsgate’s “Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft” (2013). Witch-themed films were trendy at the time with “Beautiful Creatures” (2013) and, later, “The Last Witch Hunter” (2015), these two being the only ones I’ve seen before viewing this one.
McGillion looks miserable here, but this can be defended on the grounds that his character demanded an air of grave determination in a life-or-death situation. Doherty is quite good in a double role. Meanwhile Sarain Boylan is spirited and Emilie Ullerup is fetching. You KNOW at least one of these characters is going to be dead by the end and I was quite surprised with who buys the farm; kudos to the writers for having gonads.
I love the sylvan locations and there’s a lot of forest action, along with several sequences at a witch grotto, but the movie struck me as cheesy from the get-go. It’s like a second-rate meshing of “Grimm's Snow White” (2012), Robin Hood and “First Knight” (1995). (I realize the first one was an Asylum movie, but it was actually quite effective for its low-budget and lousy CGI; and IMHO better than the film it knocked off, “Snow White and the Huntsman”). On the positive side, the spirited Lara won me over by the end and I enjoyed the heartwarming relationships of the protagonists.
The film runs 1 hour, 28 minutes and was might have been shot in Canada since it’s a Canadian production (I can’t find any info).