The Twelfth Annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
Hansel and Gretel
Directed by Yim Pil-sung
SOUTH KOREA/117 MINUTES
Though it boasts a relatively promising opening half hour, Hansel and Gretel suffers from a hoplessly repetitive midsection that ultimately negates the movie's increasingly sparse assortment of positive attributes. The bizarre storyline follows Jeong-myeong Cheon's Eun-Soo as he finds himself trapped within the confines of an isolated, fairy-talesque house after surviving a car crash, with the bulk of the film detailing his efforts at escaping the clutches of the sinister kids that seem to be holding him captive. Director Yim Pil-sung's admittedly captivating visuals prove effective at initially drawing one into the proceedings, as the filmmaker does a nice job of infusing even the smallest of moments with decidedly sinister overtones. The movie's progressively stagnant atmosphere becomes awfully difficult to take, however, and it certainly goes without saying that the absurdly overlong running time remains an obstacle that Pil-sung is simply not able to overcome. The competent performances and periodic bursts of horror ensure that Hansel and Gretel never quite sinks to the level of all-out disaster, yet one can't help but imagine that the film would've worked a whole lot better as a 20-minute short.