Hansel & Gretel Get Baked
Genre: Horror / Comedy
Director: Duane Journey
Stars: Molly C Quinn, Laura Flynn Boyle, Michael Welch
A brother and sister battle a witch who lures teenagers into her suburban home with her special blend of marijuana where she then proceeds to kill and eat them to maintain her youth and beauty.
It is time once again for me to participate in PROJECT TERRIBLE. This is a regular project where a group of bloggers create a list of bad movies for the rest of the group to review. I had fun doing this last time (Heck, even got feedback from the film’s director for my review of Madison County). First up for this edition of Project Terrible is Hansel & Gretel Get Baked which was suggested to me by Alec Pridgen of Mondo Bizarro mostly because I had recently done a look at several different Hansel & Gretel stories. This is a movie I really wanted to dislike. I can’t say that I loved the thing, but I didn’t hate it as much as I wanted to. Why?
I wanna get high with you do you wanna get high with me?
Repeat that for four minutes with a generic and minimalist R&B beat in the background.
I am not a fan of stoner films but this is because I’m not keen on the culture. I have nothing against people that do like smoking pot, it’s just not something I’m in to. For instance, I don’t like the movie Half Baked but I can understand why millions of other people love the flick. It’s why I don’t like Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time or anything in their Adult Swim programming block – there is something about it that you really have to be high to appreciate. Not being a stoner, however, does affect my view of the movie. I’m not hip to their lingo or lifestyle so it’s going to be difficult to talk about the more cannabis-related portions of the film. I will say though that as far as “stoner horror” goes, it’s a much more refined movie than something like Evil Bong.
The story starts with Cary Elwes as a meter reader finding a house with a huge consumption of electricity. When he investigates, he discovers a forest of marijuana plants and then is immediately killed by something. From that prologue we get to meet teenaged Gretel and her boyfriend Ashton. They’ve got a bong and are sharing a batch of this new, amazing “brand” of weed called “Black Forest” (Incidentally, the film is called Hansel & Gretel: Black Forest in European Markets). Ashton desribes Black Forest as “one part Swiss Miss one part Snow White… and something else.” I don’t know if he means that it tastes like hot chocolate and fairy tales or if those are other “brands” of pot. He got the weed from an old woman in Pasadena, a little granny pothead. Apparently it’s pretty potent stuff because Ashton and Gretel start seeing music notes float around the ceiling. It also gives them a mean case of the munchies because when Gretel’s older brother Hansel shows up and starts talking about black forest cake, all Ashton and Gretel can do is say “Cake? Cake? Cake?” but then settle for baking gingerbread men. While I would have loved to see what kind of wacky gingerbread men two portheads would make – there is a story to advance.
The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
Laura Flynn Boyle plays the drug dealing with Agnes and she actually does an AMAZING job. She overpowers the entire movie. Ever scene that is lacking in Laura Flynn Boyle is terrible. When she is onscreen, however, her charismatic performance makes the film delightful. With amazing age make-up to make her look like an old woman it’s fun to see her acting like a kindly Grandma and then dropping lines like “I fucking love to get high.” When Ashtom shows up to buy some more Black Forest, Agnes drugs him and ties the poor stoner up in his basement. They have the best dialogue in the whole movie as he thinks this old woman is just horny and ready to rape him.
Asthon: How about if I let you just lick my junk?
Agnes: How about if I wanted to eat your junk.
Just like the witch from the fairy tale this is inspired by, she is a cannibal. She doesn’t fatten kids up though – she uses her excellent weed to lure teenagers to her house where she just cooks and eats them in order to maintain her youth. With Ashton she cuts off one of his legs and he’s alive the whole time to watch her eat it with disinterest, comment on the flavor and even share some with her dog. It’s much better than any other cannibal scene I’ve seen in a horror movie because of just how devious Laura Flynn Boyle acts.
Agnes has a drug dealer named Manny in her employ that hands out samples of Black Forest to get kids interested in her product. Unfortunately Manny is doing his business on the turf of another drug dealer named Carlos. Agnes’ solution – insight a drug war. After saying out loud “I hope he’s got a big dick,” she shoots Carlos a text, asking Manny “do you spell faggot with one g or two – we’ll go with two.” What follows is actually pretty fun as the drug dealers come to Agnes’ house and she kills and eats them all one-by-one. When the cops show up she immediately kills them as well. She is merciless. Another thing that’s great about Laura Flynn Boyle’s character is that as she eats people she gets younger. As the movie progresses, Agnes slowly transforms from this elderly woman and becomes a sexy, evil witch.
Remember how I said that the movie is only fun when Laura is on screen. The other drug dealers are just dull and uninteresting character archetypes that cannot manage to carry a scene on their own. They exist just to be victims and give the most typical “Hey I’m a drug dealer!” performance you could imagine. They also have this girl with them, some trashy girl named Bianca. I hated this character, all she did was shout dirty Mexican slang the whole movie and I could not feel motivated at all about her struggle for survival. Really the drug dealers don’t even need names beyond “wannabe Luis Guzman” or “wannabe Selma Hayek.” Beyond the drug dealers there are other characters to worry about.
Hansel & Gretel Get Baked?
First of all the title is misleading. If we go with the stoner slang of “baked” Gretel only gets high once, at the start of the movie, and Hansel is quite proud to be straight edge. If we avoid the jocular definition and go with baked as in “cooked in an oven,” well that’s not true either because they’re the protagonists – and really weak protagonists at that. It’s not only that the villain’s performance far overpowers that of the title characters, but Hansel & Gretel are hardly in the movie. Gretel shows up here and there, investigating the witch initially to find out what happened to her boyfriend. Hansel, on the other hand, drags along and doesn’t seem to care at ALL what happens. Gretel is afforded ZERO character development other than “she’s a pretty blonde teenager.” Hansel gets tiny hints of something more as he spends his first scenes walking around with a camera and taking pictures of everything, presumably for a blog of some sort since Gretel tells him “there’s more to life than the internet!” It only exists in those scenes – the rest of the movie Hansel has no camera and never mentions pictures, blogs or the internet at all. They are the two weakest characters in the whole movie. I hated the drug dealers but at least they had a generic character trope to work with. The cops were more interesting than Hansel & Gretel, mostly because one of them was character actor Lochlyn Munro who usually puts in a fun performance. Hell, the BACKGROUND characters like Teenager #1 or Coed #2 were far more interesting than Hansel & Gretel.
Hansel & Gretel Get Baked is most of a fun movie. Laura Flynn Boyle gives a fantastic performance and the movie is worth seeing for her alone – she makes this a great horror comedy. Everyone else in the movie though is just – neh. They’re not bad they’re just bland characters – faces with names attached to them and little else. The marijuana element of the story tends to drag it down a bit since there are moments of seemingly forced pot humor just to remind the audience that the movie is called Hansel & Gretel GET BAKED. This movie doesn’t even have to use marijuana as a selling point because pot plays so little in to the story. Sure this won’t be a “stoner classic” in the vein of Half Baked or Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle but I’ll certainly take this movie over those any time.
So this was a great start to Project Terrible – I have a feeling that the rest of the movies in this round won’t be as enjoyable.