One is a dark adaptation, one is a fantastical supernatural take, and the final one embeds elements from a fairy tale into a typical slasher. Let’s take quick looks at Gretel & Hansel, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White: Deadly Summer.
GRETEL & HANSEL (2020)
Sophia Lillis of Stephen King’s It plays a maturing Gretel in this sinister adaptation of the classic fairy tale, while horror queen Alice Krige is perfect (as always) as the witch.
But the real star just might be the visual presentation of this narrowly cropped film (an aspect ratio of 1:55:1 rather than standard 1:85:1 widescreen). It perfectly captures the claustrophobia of the witch’s little house in the woods. Not to mention, the sets and settings are stunningly captured on camera.
The story is a fresh take on the plot as well. Gretel and Hansel run away, and by the time they get to the witch’s place, they decide to accept her invitation to stay a while.
As the tale unfolds, we get a backstory for the witch and nightmarish flashbacks to the kiddie food factory her little house really is. At the same time, the focus is on Gretel navigating her way into womanhood and her role as guardian of Hansel…which makes the twists that come at the end all that more delicious. Hell, there’s even a nod to the Wicked Witch of the West.
THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY (2016)
The leading hottie in this film is reason enough to watch it, plus it has plenty of spooky horror scenes with a Silent Hill vibe. But damn, it is so hard to follow.
Pretty boy keeps having dreams of sleeping beauty…and a monster under his blanket. Metaphor much?
Anyway, he inherits a mansion from his uncle, with explicit orders to never unseal the rooms in the basement. I sense a guardian of the gates plot…
Pretty soon, he’s teaming up with his pretty real estate agent and opening up the basement.
The majority of the film has them being terrorized by mannequins that come to life. The creeps and the atmosphere are excellent, but the plot just spins out of control when Bruce Davison and some young dude show up to lend a hand because they have experience with the paranormal.
I continued to watch for the cool monsters, but I was disappointed that horror hottie Zack Ward is only in the film for about ten seconds. What a waste of a good man.
SNOW WHITE: A DEADLY SUMMER (2012)
David DeCoteau manages to keep it in his pants, giving us a backwoods slasher free of boys running around in tighty-whities. And I couldn’t quibble over the loose references to Snow White, because this one has fricking Marcia Brady as the wicked stepmother.
Indeed, Maureen McCormick talks to herself in a mirror and plots to send her stepdaughter Snow to boot camp. While she only appears at the beginning and end of the film, Maureen rules when she’s evil.
Snow has to contend with seven fellow dwarfs—I mean—boot campers, and a hard ass boot camp leader. There are tales of murders at the camp 25 years ago, and supposedly the killer was never caught.
Snow keeps catching glimpses of a dark, shadowy figure in the woods and having nightmares of each of the others being murdered, and then the bodies start turning up.
Is it a good slasher? No. Is there any gore? No. But fricking evil Marcia Brady. That’s all that matters.