Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Movie Poster Image

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Brisk, outrageous action movie has tons of witchy violence.
Popular with kids
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Mixed messages about discrimination: The main characters believe that "the only good witch is a dead witch," but they eventually learn that there are good witches in the world as well and that such blanket statements are useless. At the same time, however, there's a closing message about how revenge "feels good."

Positive role models

Hansel and Gretel are siblings who seem to work well together, and they're impressively skilled and courageous. But they also live a violent, sad, and guarded existence and often aren't very trusting of others.


Constant outrageous, bloody fantasy violence and almost wall-to-wall fighting and chasing. Very powerful guns and other weapons are used. Bad guys are shot, stabbed, and beheaded. Heads are smashed. A man's stomach explodes. A witch is burned at the stake, and a man is hanged. Gretel is violently beaten up in a fight, and many female witches are viciously battered. Children are in peril. There's some scary, horrific witch-related imagery. Many minor characters are killed, in addition to one major supporting character.


A pretty witch coaxes a wounded, shirtless Hansel into a pond by taking off her clothes. Her bottom is shown, as well as one naked breast. While in the water, they kiss. Meanwhile, a helpful young man mops the brow of an unconscious Gretel and succumbs to the urge to mop her cleavage a little bit. (She wakes and slaps his hand away.) Some kissing in a flashback.


"F--k" and "s--t" are each used a few times. Other words include "hell," "damn," "ass," and "oh my God."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Hansel drinks too much at a pub and is later shown passed out and groaning on the floor. A character is shown smoking a pipe. Hansel is shown to have "sugar sickness" (diabetes) and takes his insulin shot during two instances.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a very violent, bloody, action/horror/fantasy movie about what might have happened if the children from the famous fairy tale continued to kill witches and grew up to make a living at it. Despite its origins, this definitely isn't a fairy tale for children. It's full of outrageous violence, with women beaten up in battle, children in peril, lots of blood, minor characters killed in various ways, weapons, and more. There's some brief female nudity (a naked bottom and breast) and some minor, playful innuendo. Language includes a handful of uses of "f--k" and "s--t." And there's a scene in which the hero drinks too much and is shown suffering the consequences.

What's the story?

After young Hansel and Gretel kill the famous witch in the famous gingerbread house, they keep dispatching witches and rescuing kidnapped children. Years later, they're grown-up, leather-clad orphans (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton), packing weapons and ready for battle. Their latest job involves no less than 12 kidnapped children and a very powerful dark witch, Muriel (Famke Janssen), who plans to use the kids in a blood ritual to obtain untold evil power. Meanwhile, Hansel meets a good witch (Pihla Viitala), and Gretel meets a helpful troll, both of whom help to shed some light on the siblings' mysterious origins and destiny.

Is it any good?


Directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), this film is very lean and speedy, focusing mainly on fighting, chasing, and the spraying and splattering of blood. It also comes with a very cool selection of costume and set designs that help set the mood. Its primary goal seems to be to entertain as quickly as possible and get the audience back out the door before the story gets old.

This economical approach is admirable in many ways, but it also raises some questions. Why couldn't we see more of the siblings' relationship? If they spent so much of their lives together in intense situations, how would they relate to each other? Other themes and characters could have used a little more depth as well, but the drawback is that these things certainly would have slowed down the movie overall. It might have made for a boring movie, and as it stands, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is anything but that.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Hansel and Gretel's outrageous violence. Does it seem necessary to the story? What effect does it have?

  • When Hansel says "the only good witch is a dead witch," what doesn't he know about? What does he learn over the course of the movie that changes his view? How does his statement apply to other situations or stories you may have heard?

  • How does this movie differ from the Grimm Brothers fairy tale? Is it any more or less violent? Why would violence be used in a children's story?

  • Are Hansel and Gretel role models in this movie? Why or why not?


  • Ben, a supporting character, collects newspaper clippings of Hansel and Gretel's killings and hopes to be a witch hunter himself someday. Why does he idolize them? What attracts him to this violence?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 25, 2013
DVD/Streaming release date:June 11, 2013
Cast:Famke Janssen, Gemma Arterton, Jeremy Renner
Director:Tommy Wirkola
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bychristian2011 January 25, 2013

Definitely a more adult take on the children's book. Filled with intense bloody and gory action, profanity and sexual themes. Alright for kids 16+

Hansel and Gretel : Witch Hunters is like an adult version of the children's fable, with loads of intense action sequences showing demonic witches preying on the townsfolk, with loads of blood, decapitation, dismemberment, and one man walking into a bar (drunk) whom shockingly explodes with gore splattering everywhere. The mercenaries lead by Hansel & Gretel use advanced, powerful weaponry such as gating guns, missile launchers, and shotguns in combat, while the witches transform into frightening creatures which will scare younger viewers. It's a major ironic twist of the fairy tale, similar to the 2012 movie "Snow White & The Huntsman". Language is strong at times (uses of f**k, sh*t, b*tch) and there's a brief sex scene implied by Hansel and another woman in a nearby lake, some nudity is seen (breasts, buttocks). I thought it was a rather witty and exciting take on the original, and the special effects are surprisingly great. However, parents, you all should let your children pass on this one, because it's rated R for a reason. Mature 16 year old kids should handle it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old February 2, 2013

Same Old Story,Different Day

This movie is just the same fractured fairy tale with blood. There's just nothing special that stands out in this movie. Save your money.
Teen, 13 years old Written bysam varma January 25, 2013

promising..jut promising

good gory action thriller which is promising....... could have been better though
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking