Don’t try to deny it — when we’re wronged, a part of us wants revenge. We lust for it. And apparently, it’s no different even for our favourite childhood fairytale characters. Just last year, we saw Kristen Stewart as Snow White taking the life of her wicked stepmother in Snow White (more like Blood Red) and the Hunstman.


For those of you who adore such twisted tales, don’t stop counting your blessings, for there are two new films set to perverse the innocence of what were once our beloved bedtime stories. Out now is Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters while Jack the Giant Slayer hit cinemas on Feb 28. Both centralise on the increasingly popular theme of vengeance.



We all know the story of the siblings Hansel and Gretel, who wandered into the woods in search of food. There, they stumble upon a nice old lady living in a gingerbread house. Weary and hungry, they let themselves be stuffed silly with sweets without even knowing that the nice old lady is actually a witch fattening them up to eat them. They eventually realise the trouble they’re in and manage to escape successfully, but they don’t go back to living normal lives.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a take on what the siblings have grown up to become 15 years after the gingerbread house incident. They’re no longer innocent, gullible children — they’ve become witch hunters, their blades always hungry for the blood of the kind who wronged them.

“I don’t think people realise how dark fairytales are,” remarked director Tommy Wirkola in an interview with YouTube channel TvShowsandseries.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Huntersis Wirkola’s first Hollywood film.

It’s hard to condemn the once naïve siblings for their actions though, since puberty has turned the two into a visual treat for the eyes. Hansel is now a muscular gunslinger (played by Jeremy Renner of Avengers fame) while Gretel (played by English beauty Gemma Arterton) is a voluptuous femme fatale in a leather catsuit.



Jack the Giant Slayer is based on the fairytale Jack the Giant Killer (not to be confused with Jack and the Giant Beanstalk). In the original tale, which seems to be more popular in Europe than Asia, a clever boy named Jack lures an evil giant into a death trap. The kingdom celebrates his wittiness and bravery and he goes on killing many more wicked giants throughout the land.

Director Bryan Singer tweaks the original fairytale liberally in his movie adaptation. Instead of having Jack be a violent killer of evil giants, he is portrayed as a guileless farm boy who unknowingly unleashes bad things upon his world. 


Jack, played by Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class), accidentally opens a magical gateway between his world and the world that the wicked giants were banished to eons before. The giants are more than eager to make use of his blunder to exact their revenge upon the humans for taking away their land. 

Fairytales are often socio-political commentary that have been retold for children, said the film’s director Bryan Singer to Which then begs the question: what are fairytales really about?



When the Brothers Grimm first penned the tales that would later become classic bedtime stories, could they actually have been protesting the cruelty of the world they lived in?

As children, we probably never thought deeply about the subliminal messages weaved into our favourite fairytales. But these movie adaptations are giving us a chance to revisit their implications — this time, as adults. Our fairytale characters have grown up in these movies too, and that makes them more relatable to us since we’ve experienced how values grow brighter and darker as life throws more challenges at us. “Happily ever after” is nothing but a bitter fantasy, but it’s endearing to see the heroes of our childhood try to strive for it anyway, in their own ways.

But, of course, there’s always the option of just enjoying the new spins on fairytales. Says Kimberly Tan, 18, “I really like how our childhood stories are getting retold on the big screen. Generally, the stories are now darker and [more] sinister, which makes it all the more interesting to watch.”

Catch Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Jack the Giant Slayer for a chance to revisit our childhood and understand that courage, tenacity and magnanimity weren’t the only lessons that fairytales were trying to teach us. Both movies, shot in 3D, don’t skimp on violence and gore — you’ll be experiencing a world completely different from the one your mother told you about while you lay in bed.


All fairy tale movies these days don’t have to be all gloom and doom: Here are some happier, more lighter reinterpretations of your favourite classics.

1) A Cinderella Story
Starring Hilary Duff, the 2004 teen rom-com flick contains a modern day interpretation of the classic Cinderella tale set in Los Angeles.

An animated film released in 2005, the independently funded film Hoodwinked! was simply a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale albeit in a humourous crime-drama structure.

Although not exactly a fairy tale, the 2001 animated comedy movie featuring Mike Myers containe many of your favourite fairy tale characters, like the Big Bad Wolf,  the Gingerbread man, and the Three little pigs.

4) Sydney White
Similar to A Cinderella Story, 2007 comedy film Sydney White starring Amanda Bynes and Matt Long is based on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. But instead of forests and dwarves, you get a university and nerds.

5) The Brothers Grimm:And finally, it’s time to go full circle by talking about a movie about the king of fairy tales, the Brothers Grimm. Instead of being authors, the brothers, played by Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, are traveling con artists in French-occupied Germany in the 19th Century.