If the performance this summer of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" was anything to go by, the future of the "[Insert Name Of Historical Or Literary Figure]: [Insert Name Of Supernatural Creature] Hunter" sub-genre isn't looking too great; even on a relatively modest budget, Timur Bekmambetov's horror-actioner failed to make much of a box office impact, only just scraping its way to $100 million worldwide. But if Paramount had any second thoughts about their own "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," it was too late; the film had long since wrapped (indeed, it was set to come out first, until it was delayed nearly a full year by the studio), and was already on the release schedule.
The studio were at one point said to be considering recutting the film for a PG-13, but eventually decided it against it, as they're keen to demonstrate with a blood-and-viscera-splattered new red band trailer that just debuted over at IGN. We weren't especially impressed by the green band equivalent, but was all the good stuff hiding among the gristle and cursing?
Not so much, no. We like a bit of gore as much as the next man, and the film certainly seems to deliver on that front, with exploding bodies, decapitated heads and razor wire dismemberments left, right and center. But the film continues to look like Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm" but without the wit; the alleged horror-comedy lacking in any of the laughs that you might expect from producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Leads Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton continue to look uncomfortable, and we might also have a front-runner for the most misogynistic film of 2012, not least by the immediate damsel-in-distress sidelining of Arterton.
Could we be pleasantly surprised? We're always optimistic, and it could be that it's just being undersold by the marketing. But a release date that pits it in the depths of January hardly bodes well. You can find out if our gut is right when the film opens on January 25th, 2013.