Drugs are bad. Drugs are very, very bad. They are done by bad people and lead to bad things, even gateway drugs like pot. Tonight’s movie, Hansel and Gretel Get Baked, is a biased piece of pro-marijuana propaganda possibly funded by Willie Nelson to in turn fundraise for the Matthew McConaughey Bongo Clothing Fund, That’s why this review is brought to you by the power of alcohol. Yay, alcohol!
I have to say that I almost wrote this off as another stupid stoner comedy, but the surprisingly great reviews changed my mind. Also, as an aside, as I was typing the previous sentence, I noticed that I was getting slightly more typos as I’m a teensy bit drunk, but I’ve learned over the years that unless I black out, there’s still some last little cluster of synapses still firing that insists that I keep my spelling and syntax relatively intact. Grammar, not so much, which would explain why I didn’t correct that “there’s still…” thing from a few words ago. Stupid words!
OK, so the movie is quite clearly an updated stoner version of the fairytale Hansel and Gretel, but having gleeful amounts of fun with the double-meaning of the word “baked”. As in the original fairytale, the witch literally does bake people, but in this version, she’s also a pot dealer (lol because potheads get baked; thank god I’m not some stupid stoner and I drink healthy nutritious beer instead) that is a great sort of occupation for a witch that needs to lure kids to her house. Anyway, Gretel and her stupid stoner boyfriend Ashton are smoking some apparently amazing hybrid strain (is that what they call it? or variey? species? genus? flavour??) that produces such a great high that it allows extras to be promoted to one-line bit-part wankers puffing out lines such as “this shit is good” and “this high is great” and stuff. When they run out and Gretel opts to make gingerbread cookies (“oh, it’s a mix? That means we have to bake it??”) while Ashton fucks off to get more. Old Lady tells him not to eat her gingerbread house (that really looks like a bunch of shredded wheat stuck together with icing, so I probably would have ate it too, because it’s TOTALLY NOT GINGERBREAD SO I WOULDN’T GET IN TROUBLE) but apparently it totally was a gingerbread house and Ashton slowly pays for it in sort of various non-lethal but horrifyingly disgusting ways. Also, the shredded wheat house seemed to have, below its flimsly, flaky, deliciously thin single layer, all the evidence that the Witch is a former Nazi (despite having a Southern accent), including books with the swastika on the front.
This was surprisingly good, possibly because, even though it’s billed as a stoner movie, I don’t think it really fits the bill that was previously filled by quests for fast food or trying to remember where you left your car. The violence is lingered upon in a bit of a torture-porn-y way, and I guess the filmmakers had enough of a budget that extreme close-ups of chainsaws slicing through legs is a way of them saying “OMG WE HAD ENOUGH MONEY TO MAKE A REALLY CONVINCING VERSION OF THIS PLEASE LOOK” like all those paragraphs of Chuck Palahniuk’s books where he goes on about all the how-tos he looked up but didn’t bother integrating them into his novels properly instead of making it a wikihow you have to pay for because he really just wanted to show off that he’d looked it up in the first place.
Furthermore, the fact that several characters are in danger is taken seriously, and this manifests itself in the acting, and it helps that they have either fairly one-dimensional characters, bit-parts played for comic relief (or jiggly boobs), a veteran horror cameo (i.e Witchblade‘s Yancy Butler), or decently competent lead actors who know how to look away from the camera during the shot. Most of the time. And the fact that Lara Flynn Boyle is clearly having reams of fun with the role is enough to make me go, “aww”. Even wen, when asked if someone is dead, she replies with “Duh”.
There are smatterings of references to the original text, such as the naming of the Woodsman, and the forest (massive weed plants under grow lights in a basement), as well as the trail–of-breadcrumbs thing, which involves leaving Skittles. Which brings me to the cringeworthy product placements: a character eats the Skittles in not one but two scenes, the last of which, even in the fact of mortal danger, she finds time to sigh, “taste the rainbow”. In Ashton’s opening scenes, he’s randomly wearing a “Tabasco sauce”. I know because it’s the same brand that’s later found in Gretel’s fridge. And there’s a short montage showing the sign of a local The Cheesecake Factory; in case you forget they mention The Cheesecake Factory much later on in the movie.
In short, this is not your average stoner movie. Wait, no, yeah, I said this wasn’t a stoner movie. Stupid stoners! Yay, alcohol!!!!eleven