Hansel and Gretel was never my favorite of the bedtime stories. It is a cruel tale of a very wicked witch who wants to broil, boil and eat little children after luring them into her not-so-homey little house made entirely out of colorful, irresistible candy.

There's no sugar coating on this story, though. Norwegian born director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow) has brought more than a bucket of blood to the set, and transformed this once so moralizing tale into a veritable fight fest. Within four minutes, the movie goes from cute as candy to gore galore.

The film starts off well — H&G have grown up scarred by their first witch experience. They have a rarely seen thirst for blood and continue to pursue the many witches of this medieval part of fairytale Europe.

These psychopathic violence-prone siblings are played by Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Quantum of Solace). Famke Jansen gives the evil witch a great face, even when she transforms from eye candy to fearsome fissure-faced über-witch. Peter Stormare (Weeds, The Last Stand) is, as usual, very unpleasant as the town sheriff. There will be no awards for the acting, but the cast holds this story together with their fighting fists and really manages to squeeze every little last drop of blood out of the many action scenes. Renner really gets use of his Bourne training. That money was well spent.

The story is still just as cruel as the original. Well, a bit more cruel really. The difference between this version and the previous ones is that here we actually get to see the evil witch being barbecued in her own huge-state-of-the-witch-craft kitchen oven.

This may be the most R-rated fairytale ever. Boys shoot their mothers, heads are smashed, squashed, blown off and cut off. Witches are burned, hanged, stabbed, decapitated, shredded, electrocuted, bashed beyond recognition and torn to pieces.

This bedtime story is so violent that halfway through you begin to think Tarantino's name will appear somewhere in the credits. But as soon as you accept the film on its own terms, the elaborate medieval-looking shotguns and crossbows seem perfectly natural, the smashing and burning necessary and the stomping of troll feet on heads really fun to watch.

For once, we see 3D working to its full effect. Not only fists and arrows pierce the screen and stick out into the theater, but witch heads, bullets and body parts, as well. The setting comes marvelously to life, built around a medieval European village and a surrounding deep forest.

Hansel and Gretel does not aspire to awake any old, cute memories back from the bedside. The violence of this story may make audience members cover their eyes — but odds are they will still be peeking.

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