Hansel & Gretel (Terracotta)

                                                                                        “The world is an unimaginably strange place…”

      Eun- soo (Chun Jeong-myeong) wakes up in a dark forest after skidding off the road and crashing his car. He is led to safety by a beautiful girl in red cloak holding a lantern Young-Hee (Shim Eun-kyoung). She leads him deeper into the forest to her idyllic house that looks like it comes from a fairy tale.

Inside he is introduced to the rest of the family. The parents are always anxious and nervous yet overly friendly. Hoping to stay only for the night, Eun-soo gradually learns he is trapped. Every attempt to escape proves impossible and invariably forces him to return to the house.

The sudden disappearance of the children’s parents causes Eun-soo to become desperate and also causes him to realise he is left to care for these seemingly innocent children. As the plot unfolds, it also dawns on Eun-soo that the children lure lost adults into their home in the woods and make then stay in an attempt to gain loving parents.

Things get further complicated by the arrival of an insidious couple who seem not to realise they can never leave. The cast is all about the children who grow close to Eun-soo and carry on calling him uncle. The director Yim Pil-Sung plays on the imagination of children which becomes reality. There are scenes that captivate the audience imagination as they, like the protagonist search for answers.

The children are brilliant with playing their parts as Man-Bok (Eun Won-Jae); the older of the siblings manages menace and youth effectively. The youngest also invests a lot of personal emotion into her role. The plot and the dialogue sometimes circles a few times however, there are memorable scenes in the film. The visual effect adds to the creation of horror and also hints at cannibalism due to the large supply of food close at hand. Also, the massive chunk of meat in the freeze gives a spine-chilling effect.

There are definitely scary scenes although subtle.  The sequence of events also causes viewers to develop a good bit of sympathy towards the characters.

Directed by Yim Pil-Sung

Running Time: 116 minutes

Language: Korean (with English subtitles)

Rated 15