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Hansel & Gretel 
Written by: on May 10th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2007
Director: Pil-Sung Yim
Writers: Pil-Sung Yim, Min-sook Kim
Cast: Jeong-myeong Cheon, Sim Eun-kyung, Yeong-Nam Jang, Ji-hee Jin, Kyeong-ik Kim, Hee-soon Park, Eun Won-jae

DVD released: April 6th, 2009
Approximate running time: 117 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean, Dolby Digital Stereo Korean
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Terracotta
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99

Synopsis: After surviving a near fatal car crash a young man named Eun-soo encounters a girl and her most unusual family who live deep within the woods. The next morning Eun-soo thanks the family for their kindness and heads out into the woods alone. He quickly discovers that things are not what they appear to be as every direction he tries always leads him back to the home of the family who lives deep within the woods. Determined to find his way out of the woods Eun-soo slowly peels away at the lies as he draws closer to the truth behind this mysterious family living deep within the woods.

Director Pil-Sung Yim’s Hansel & Gretel is a loose adaptation of the Brothers Grim story from which is takes its name. At the core of Pil-Sung Yim’s Hansel & Gretel are three children whose dark past has led them to distrust all adults. When the story begins Eun-soo has discovered that his girlfriend is pregnant. Fearing the responsibility of taking care of child he tries to distance himself from his impending fatherhood. At first Eun-soo tries to distance himself from the three children who have grown fond of him. The film takes on a darker tone when a man named Deacon arrives at the home with a young woman only interested in stealing valuables from the home. The Deacon character is also a doppelganger which represents someone from the three children’s past who is responsible for their pain.

Visually the film is beautifully realized as every frame perfectly captures the fantastical and melancholy nature of this story. The film’s flashback sequences which reveal the trauma from the three children’s past are not for the faint of heart as they are put through hell and back. Performance wise the cast all excel in their various roles with Jeong-myeong Cheon in the role of Eun-Soo giving the films standout performance. Another performance of note is Hee-soon Park in the role of Deacon a com-passionless sadist whose cruelty knows no boundaries. Ultimately Hansel & Gretel is a gut wrenching tale that far exceeds your typical horror film.

The DVD:

Hansel & Gretel is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This release has not been flagged for progressive playback and there is some very mild ghosting / blurring during scenes with heavy movement. Colors, flesh tones and black levels all fare well throughout.

This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a Dolby Digital stereo mix. Both audio mixes are in the film’s native Korean language and removable English subtitles have been included.  Both audio mixes sound clean and clear with the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounding slighter more robust.

Extras for this release include a teaser trailer (1 minute 24 seconds – in Korean with English subtitles) and a theatrical trailer for the film (1 minute 44 seconds – in Korean with English subtitles). Other extras include two interviews. The first interview is with Jung Seong-jin the visual effects director (9 minutes 39 seconds – in Korean with English subtitles) and the second interview is with Seong-hie Ryu the production designer (14 minutes 26 seconds – in Korean with English subtitles). The main extra for this release is a making of featurette about the film (55 minutes 12 seconds – in Korean with English subtitles). The two interviews and making of featurette do a good job covering all the bases about what is was like to work on this film. Rounding out the extras for this release are trailers for Family Man, God Man Dog and The President’s Last Bang. Overall Terracotta gives Hansel & Gretel a strong DVD release.

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