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Gretel and Hansel: this new horror retelling of a fairytale classic has terrified the internet

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Hollie Richardson
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Gretel and Hansel

Gretel and Hansel is the terrifying new film based on the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale. Here’s everything we know about it so far (spoiler: it looks scary as hell). 

Horror films and TV had a big year in 2019, and it’s clear the genre isn’t going anywhere in 2020. We’ve already quivered while watching the recent trailer for A Quiet Place Part II. And we live in fearful anticipation of films including The Invisible Man, starring Elisabeth Moss, and the Janelle Monae-starring Antebellum.

Now, the first look at the retelling of the Gretel and Hansel fairy tale has left us – along with half the internet – hiding behind our hands. It looks twisted, terrifying and too good to miss. 

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You probably already know the classic Brothers Grimm tale about two children who are abandoned in a woodland. The siblings are thrown out of their home and left to fend themselves with just the clothes on their backs. They spot a small house in the woods, which lures them in with an aroma of sugary sweet treats. It turns out that the woman who lives in the hut is a child-eating witch, who fattens up her victims before taking them as prisoners and turning them into a snack. But in the end, Gretel outwits the witch and ends up burning her in the oven.

It’s not exactly the nicest bedtime story, but it’s a gripping one that has been told to terrify for many generations. 

Watch the Gretel and Hansel movie trailer

It looks like the movie follows the classic storyline, with plenty of added horrors along the way. We see ominous figures in the woodland, a claw-handed creature cradling a baby and the witch pulling a little girl’s plaited hair from her mouth. The flickering candles and creepy music don’t give us much hope for Gretel and Hansel’s futures, either. And don’t get us started on the moment when the witch, Holda, makes a pig’s snorting sound. 

We’ll have to wait to see if the plot takes a different turn in this version. 

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Who stars in Gretel and Hansel?

Sophia Lillis (It, Sharp Objects) stars as older sister Gretel, and newcomer Sam Leakey plays her eight-year-old brother Hansel. Alice Krige (Silent Hill, A Christmas Prince) is truly terrifying as the witch, Holda. Oz Perkins (Legally Blonde, Secretary) directs the film. 

When is Gretel and Hansel released?

You don’t have long to wait for what is potentially the scariest film of the year. Gretel and Hansel is released on 31 January 2020.

What has the response on the internet been like?

Unsurprisingly, the internet is pretty much terrified by the trailer. 

“If you go down to the woods today… Prepare to change your pants,” joked one Twitter user.

Another refuses to watch it, tweeting: “Absolutely not. This is terrifying.”

And a third spoke for many of us, writing: “Dude I watched the #GretelAndHansel trailer with sound off and I’m still creeped the fuck out wtf… that’s a hell no from me.”

Hopefully, one of us will work up the courage to go and check it out at the end of the month to see how it really ends. 

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Images: Orion Pictures

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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