Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

As you may know, this movie ‘Witchslayer Gretl’ is the second feature of the first ever SyFy Channel Original Premiere Double Header… even though I doubt that anybody actually sat down in front of a television for four consecutive hours worth of SyFy originality. Or at least I hope they didn’t. I mean I’m as tough as they come and I know I couldn’t do it. Not that we would know if someone actually attempted this feat because they’d be dead now anyway. Regardless, I thought I had lost out on this movie since my DVR malfunctioned and stuff, but lo and behold if it didn’t catch the rebroadcast. Now I had heard ‘Black Forest’, the first feature, was the better of the two movies. That caused me concern because ‘Black Forest’ was… well… terrible. Thus after watching ‘Witchslayer Gretl’ I must disagree with this. So while this take on a fairy tale legend is different from ‘Black Forest’ and its take on fairy tale legends, they are equal in their crappiness. I can’t pick a winner.

There’s a man roving the countryside slaughtering witches. He’s Hansel (Paul McGillion). The movies not called ‘Hansel the Witchslayer’ even though Hansel is the one brutally torturing and slaying witches. By

Hansel’s side on his witch murdering rampage is former witch, and judging by her height current UCONN Power Forward Lara (Sarain Boyle). While on their journey our witchslaying team saves the young woman Ehren (Emilie Ullerup) from the evil warlock Abyss (Jefferson Brown) and his witch sidekicks The Bridesmaids of Badness. Abyss was trying to secure Ehren for his unseen witch mistress who lurks in the shadows… we know it’s Shannon Dougherty… not enough shadow in the world can conceal that mug, but yet in the shadows she exists. What Abyss doesn’t get is why his magic doesn’t work on Hansel. An interesting scenario on why this is the case.

Back to the rescued maiden, it turns out that the magic is strong with young Ehren, and the Queen Witch needs a strong body to inhabit since the one she’s in now is

deteriorating on her. Clearly. Hansel would just as soon kill her, but Lara thinks she can train her to use her magic for good. And considering that the Queen Witch’s completely awful looking CGI gargoyle ate her dad, Ehren has little choice but to hang out with these two witchslaying marauders.

Lara and Ehren don’t know why Hansel is so driven to murder witches, but we know. We know that an evil witch stole and murdered his little sister Gretl, and he’s going to make them pay. But what if Gretl was still alive? Kind of? In a way? Damn if the Queen Witch isn’t Gretl. Or at least Gretl’s shell housing the Queen Witch, and now Hansel has a chance to save his sister, as he failed to do so many years prior.

It will be a treacherous path, and that Queen Witch is a tricky one. What would be a shame is if they killed off the one character we actually liked in this crap movie.

I’m thinking ‘Witchslayer Gretl’ is one of the lower budgeted SyFy Channel Original’s they’ve made… if not the lowest budgeted movie they’ve ever sanctioned, which is saying something. Most of the set design was done for free by God since 90% of the movie consisted of characters walking in the woods, all of our characters had one change of dirty clothes for the entire production, and the side witches dresses looked like leftovers bridesmaid gowns from one of the P.A.’s recent wedding ceremonies. The ‘special effects’ consisted of one suspect gargoyle and some particle effect stuff that can be done in almost any video editing program, and Shannon Dougherty was the biggest star in the movie. I don’t know what Shannon’s charging nowadays, but I’m thinking it’s in the high four figures. Plus, looking at the IMDB page, I see no director so they even saved money on that.

Now all that being said, just because a movie is cheap doesn’t mean that it’s going to be bad. This statement doesn’t apply to ‘Witchslayer Gretl’, but there are many cases where we’ve seen cheap movies that are very good. No, ‘Witchslayer Gretl’ does not qualify with its stiff acting, the non-existent director creating action by shaking the camera real fast, dead witches that disappear in a puff a bubbly smoke, Shannon Dougherty looking bored to DEATH, and the fact that the movie had like four different endings before it finally and mercifully went off… a director on set would’ve stopped some of that… I’m just saying.

But similar to ‘Black Forest’ the movie isn’t a complete disaster. The Medieval Bluetooth hookup? Genius. The fact that the Witch’s power in this reality is almost identical to the powers of the Green Lantern? Derivatively wonderful. The Geordi La Forge styled visor that allows you to see stuff? Also Derivatively wonderful. Lara the ex-witch being the Medieval version of James Bond’s Q with her awesome weapon making ability? Sweet. So you see the lesson here is, if you don’t have a lot of money to work with, just steal the cheapest concepts you can find from other places. I’m down with that idea.

So sure, ‘Witchslayer Gretl’ wasn’t all the great, and I’m thinking it might’ve been a little better if they had hired a director to sit in a nearby chair to yell ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’, but it wasn’t a total and complete loss. It was damn close, but we do have a high tolerance level, and as such a high forgiveness level for our SyFy original fare.

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