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4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2010
If you like world cinema, you might love this film as much as I did. It has suspense and it is creepy. Don't read too much about the film. The best way is just to watch it without knowing what will happen.

And don't listen to the people giving the film one star.
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on 24 May 2017
I understand it may not be everyone's ideal film . But to me it's the best film ever , its cosy/cute , yet is creepy and disturbing , it is a world I would love to live in . It's also quite life affirming I think and is quite happy/sad . It's charming and childish , I like this film that is for sure !
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on 23 November 2012
This film is a puzzle to be solved. It is like a rubics cube; you will either solve it and get a sense of deep satisfaction or be baffled and then lose interest. Far simpler to solve, you only need to step back, think outside of the box and ask yourself what does this represent? If you have an inquisitive mind you will enjoy this "children's tale". I use the term loosely because this is not the original childrens fable by the brothers Grimm, but it uses the overall premise of being lost in an enchanted wood, stumbling into a sinister situation, unable to find your way out.

An apathetic father to be is driving alone through a lonely mountain road. His pregnant wife hangs up on him just before his car crashes leaving him dazed and stranded. Out of the thick forest emerges a young girl with a lamp; she leads him back to her home and "rescue", deep in the forest. There the girls parents, younger sister and elder brother await. What looks to be a picture of happiness and serenity in an idyllic house holds a secret that will make it impossible to leave this "paradise". Indeed, why would you want to leave such dream home?

Needless to say, things are not quite what they seem and dark, sinister presence begins to reveal itself in the characters at the house and in another couple that stumble upon this ideal paradise.

Key to understanding this film is to understand who the children are. This is not a film specifically about children, as emphasised by the revelation when the boy and oldest girl from the house visit a secret doorway hidden in the woods.

Although the children are the central point of the story you must remember that this is not a literal tale but a fable, where characters and events are representative of a deeper, broader message.

This film is a metaphor for how we live our lives; an allegory on a grand scale because when you figure it out this film gives so many comments on different aspects of human behaviour and culture. The story is very clever; what it has to say are core subjects that are daily treated with irreverence and disinterest yet they are portrayed in such a way as to put them into sharp context that is pungent; its like hearing a recording of your own voice for the first time, "is that what I really sound like?", only in this case its "is that how we really live our lives?". It causes the viewer to reflect deeply on life. It shines a spotlight on core fundamental aspects of human culture and behaviour while showing how they relate to each other, what impact they have and how that chain can be broken.

Issues such as morals, religion, suffering, politics and maturity are dealt with. If you watch this film purely as some spooky kids in the woods then you are missing out on the rich observations offered by this film; sadly you will then probably dislike the film because the spookiness and supernatural elements of the film are insufficient on their own to satisfy a viewer only seeking those things for entertainment. Possibly that is the only criticism I can offer. Maybe it could have been "spooked up" by making the setting more gothic, a bit more of "another world" feel to the sets in the woods.

The feel of the film is wonderful and atmospheric but just fails to reach the zenith of Tim Burton style exaggeration and mood to bring out that extra sinister feel. But then it wasnt made on a Tim Burton budget!

All the characters are believably delivered and the films story and pace is just right to keep you guessing what is going on.

I confess that the penny didnt completely drop for me until a man dressed as Santa Claus appears at Christmas offering gifts to the good children. Then the light came on and it was a sweet feeling of "A-ha, I get it". Up until that point, it was like looking at the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and not knowing what the picture was.

I wasnt 100% sure I was on the right track, and after some hunting on the web found a site that explained more about the director YIM Pil-sung; this told me enough to know I was looking in the right direction on what this film meant. But each event can be interpreted with several meanings, e.g. to apply to, say, religion or to politics and that is what is so profound in the film. You will continue to see metaphors for a long time.

I think it will help viewers understand this film if they read the site below on the director (add "www" at beginning): -

.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/films/index/peopleMore.jsp?firstMenuID=01&strMenuId=010402&peopleCd=10058886

This film is for grown-ups; it has some spooky and disturbing scenes, nothing graphic. It is easy to watch and nice to look. Its style is similar to "The Company of Wolves", a film based upon the fable of Little Red Riding Hood.

I think the story really is wonderful, a prime example of creative writing. The film does it justice but is only slightly less powerful than the story itself, the Tim Burton touch would have blown your socks off. But this film has made me a fan of its director YIM Pil-sung; this is a wonderful, thoughtful film for grown ups. A rare treat.

Another tip: key elements to be understood include (*** SPOILERS - Dont read this if you want to solve the puzzle yourself! ***)

- who/what does the main adult character represent?
- who do the "children" represent?
- who do the "adults" represent?
- what does Santa Claus and the gift of the book "Hansel and Gretel" represent?
- why do the children not have their supernatural powers from the start of their life?
- what is the significance of the pregnant wife in relation to the children in the film?
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on 13 July 2013
This is a Korean horror film loosely based on the fairy tale. The story starts with a man who crashes his car while arguing on the phone with his girlfriend. He wakes at night in a forest and is led by a young girl to a mysterious house. From there is gets weird and more than a little creepy.

It's an excellent film, like most good horror films it relies on creepiness and suggestion rather than gore. It';s well acted, especially the kids and it's well filmed. At times it has almost a magical feel, making it feel like a fairy tale rather than a straight horror.

The only downside for me was that it dragged a little near the end. It could have been edited down to make a tighter experience. As issues go, it's no a major one and didn't spoil the film.

If you like a creepy film with a good story, that looks good then this is well worth checking out.
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Look below the surface, and fairy tales can be terrifying, grotesque and unnerving... which makes them perfect for a horror-fantasy movie.

And there's no shortage of either beauty or horror in "Hansel and Gretel" -- it's a dark fairy tale that starts off as lovely as an antique wind-up toy, but soon the prettiness flakes away to show the horrors underneath. The actors all do excellent jobs (particularly the three kids), but the real star here is Yim Pil-Sung's lushly atmospheric direction.

After a car accident, Eun-soo (Cheon Jeong Myeong) finds himself wandering through a lush green forest, until he comes across a colorful little cottage that is every child's dream -- countless toys, and no food but candy and cake. The family inside seems similarly perfect, but they're strangely reluctant to let Eun-soo go -- and soon the parents vanish, leaving Eun-soo to watch the three eerie kids.

Oh yes, and whenever poor Eun-soo tries to walk back to civilization, the the forest itself swamps him with snow and darkness.

Stuck with the kids (and a pair of increasingly creepy yuppies who are also stranded), Eun-soo begins to realize that this house isn't just creepy because of the "children's fantasy" theme. There's something dark and weepy in the attic, a girl wanders through the house and yard, and the children start to demonstrate darker facets -- and mysterious powers that are keeping him trapped.

Porcelain doll-women, people swallowed by trees, magical picture books, an endless forest littered with toys, and a house where children's wishes come true. "Hansel and Gretel" is full of strange and fantastical things that make it seem like a magical dream -- but as the story winds on, Yim Pil-Sung peels away all those pretty layers and shows us the rotten wood underneath. Think "Pan's Labyrinth" crossed with a reverse "Coraline."

And his style is absolutely stunning -- lush, eerie, full of lingering glimpses of leafy trees, antique toys and old dusty rooms hidden behind magical doors. Even the creepy scenes are painted in shadows and sunlight -- and there are a lot of them, because Yim Pil-Sung can even make harmless toys, stuffed animals and rabbit masks seem eerie.

The story needs to look that lovely, because it becomes more terrifying and saddening as it winds on -- especially since horrendous things happen to some of the grown-ups who cross these kids ("Good girl," Young-hee croons at one victim). And in the last quarter the story suddenly twists back on itself, revealing a gruesome and traumatic back history for the children, painted in the dull brown hues of an old sepia photograph.

But the most haunting aspect of the movie is the kids -- the three young actors perfectly embody innocence that has been twisted and shattered. Shim Eun Kyeong gives a heartrending performance as the tragic, withdrawn Young-hee, and while Eun Won Jae's Man-bok seems like a jerk at first, we eventually see just how passionate his protectiveness is. In fact, Cheon Jeong Myeong gets rather overshadowed despite being the lead character -- he's rather underdeveloped, but a fundamentally nice and kind guy.

"Hansel and Gretel" is a perfect blend of exquisitely beautiful horror and dark fantasy, with a brilliant cast of actors and sublime direction. An absolute must-see.
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on 18 December 2010
I won't tell the story line, as it already has been done.

First of all, I don't understand why people seem to give most Asian movies where strange things happen, are put in the 'horror' genre. I don't think this movie one should be in that categorie. Yes, ofcourse I know Hansel & Gretel and so do you. And yes, you understand this movie is a bit different than the 'Hänsel und Gretel' of the original writers the brothers Grimm.

I'm into Asian movies, I have to say. And it's a genre not suitable for every one. The Asian story lines are always a bit vague (that's why when ever there's a American re-make version, they add something to the story for the Western audience), the actors act different, and not every one wants to put effort in reading the subtitles, etc.
I enjoyed watching this refreshing version of Hansel & Gretel. I found it an exciting movie, I never had a dull moment. The graphics are stunning and you're dying to find out what's wrong with that little house in the middle of nowhere and the lovely family who live in it. They are friendly, they welcome the young man in their house, the children seem happy to have a new friend, they all look weet and kind but there's something dark about it, you know it, he knows it, but you just can't put your finger on it.

I would recommend the movie!
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on 1 December 2009
This movie is definitely one of my favourites, the cinematography is absolutely amazing with striking colours and compositions, the actors are also pretty good especially with the children who seem so much more mature than their age. I can't give any plot away but it does revolve around childrens fantasties on how they want to live (imagine cakes for breakfast, christmas everyday etc...) but also wanting it to stay that way, afraid of losing that kids fantasty.

Alot of people diss this movie when they watched it because the fact its Korean and its in the thriller/slightly supernatural genre, they expect scares and gores therefore left feeling pretty dissapointed. There are slightly creepy moments in a very creative way and unlike a lot of movies, it has a proper underlying story and message that leaves you feeling drawn in. I really recommend this movie, its visually enticing, mysterious, a bit creepy but overall, blooming fantastic.
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on 27 December 2014
Great Grimm Fairy tale straight out of Korean Cinema. A modern take on the old fabled story has our main character in a car accident fallen into the woods. There with the help of a little girl he is led into a magical house in the middle of the forest. But this family only seem to eat cakes and chocolates, something isn't right..... And there is no escaping the forest which is akin to a maze.

Stunning performances from the child actors and a gripping story throughout. True the movie does become a little choppy at times and is over long at nearly 2 hours. Towards the end the film moves into cynical dark territory but redeems itself by pure emotion. Korean Horror has been mostly in its A game for the past decade or so and this is certainly worthy of the genre there.

A sweet gem of a film.
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on 21 September 2015
I wasn't expecting much from this one as I'm not really a fan of fairy tales and the likes. But wow was I surprised. This film was amazingly well made with some top class acting and effects. Very well acted by the young kids, possibly the best child actors I've ever seen. A great, surprisingly dark twist to well known tale.
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on 2 August 2014
Not what I expected at all, much better, beautifully filmed, sad ,intriguing film. A fairytale but thankfully not full of action shots and obvious CGI like many remakes of fairy tales and folklore where storyline gets lost. Brilliant , really enjoyed this, unexpected gem.
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