H & G
PRODS Danishka Esterhazy, Rebecca Gibson, Ashley Hirt, Rebecca Sandulak
SCR Danishka Esterhazy, Rebecca Gibson
CAM Andrew Luczenczyn
ED Danishka Esterhazy
MUS Joe Silva
PROD CO Red Czarina Entertainment
Gemma (Breazy Diduck-Wilson) and Harley (Annika Elyse Irving) are the young children of single mother Krysstal (Ashley Rebecca Moore). Krysstal is not the most responsible parent, to put it mildly: in the second scene we see her use the kids to steal food from a church, and as the film goes on her selfishness and neglect increase. Eventually the young ones are abandoned on the side of a highway. Venturing into the woods, they come upon a strange display: garden gnomes and dolls, with a sign welcoming children.
Danishka Esterhazy’s film is a tale of survival against all odds, updating the story of Hansel and Gretel to reflect some grim contemporary realities: substance abuse, child neglect, pedophilia and serial murder. The style is both idyllic and realistic, with Daisy chains and romps in the sun sharing the screen with menace and tragedy. It’s a potent mix, and the performances are superb: newcomers Diduck-Wilson and Irving bring a warmth and innocence to their parts, and those traits are brilliantly played off against the corruption of the adults. Of those, the key players are Moore, superb, and Tony Porteous as a farmer with an awful secret. This is a provocative and challenging film.