When plot details for the upcoming fairytale re-imagining/sequel Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters first emerged online last year, we were a bit surprised to learn that the film - which chronicles the witch-hunting exploits of a now-grown Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) - would be a bloody and violent action/mystery film. Later on, when Arterton started saying in interviews that Witch Hunters would have a "Quentin Tarantino feel," we were all a bit more curious to see what kind of film director (and co-writer) Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) had put together.
Unfortunately, Paramount pushed back Hansel & Gretel from 2012 until early 2013, and since then, the movie has been somewhat off the radar in terms of interest. Today, we're getting a reminder that this strange bird is still out there flapping, with official confirmation that Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will indeed be a bloody, violent, R-Rated film.
Collider snagged exclusive word of the rating confirmation, after rumors of Paramount testing both PG-13 and R-rated versions of the film began to surface on the Internet. According to Collider, their sources refute the dual testing rumor, stating that both versions of Witch Hunters shown to test audiences were Rated R, which is how the studio supposedly plans to release the film. The only difference in the two cuts is said to have been the severity of the gore and violence - which could account for the mistaken impression about the rating.
Overall, the movie reportedly tested favorably, with audiences enjoying its off-kilter sense of humor and combination of solid action and graphic violence. Tarantino-esque, indeed. Right now, all we have is the previously-released image of Renner and Arterton in costume to share, but with the January release date on the horizon, trailers, posters and more promotional materials should start dropping soon - and don't be surprised if they play up the film's pulpy, violent nature (if these latest reports are to be believed).
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is not something we're expecting Oscar quality from. As with a lot of these fairytale and/or historical horror movie movie mashups, the title alone pretty much sets the tone for what the film will be. Those who understood that idea before heading in to see this summer's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter tended to walk out of the theater with smiles on their faces - while those who went in expecting anything else tended to walk away unsatisfied.
Watching two of fairytale lore's most reputed near-victims as witch-slaying traumatized adults? Sure, could be a fun way to break up the doldrums of the winter season. And with Renner steadily raising his clout as an action star (see: Mission: Impossible 4, The Avengers, Bourne Legacy), Arterton being a pretty lovely leading lady, and a tried-and-true 3D premium, there's already enough gas in the tank to carry this film to relative box office success - despite the restrictive nature of the rating, which will make it hard for the teen crowd to enjoy this slice of pulp in theaters.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will be in theaters on January 11, 2013.