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observation notes: GRIMM'S SNOW WHITE

For their next release - Grimm's Snow White, on DVD this coming Tuesday - The Asylum has gotten their fingers on the classic fairy tale and given it their own personal twist, which naturally includes murder, mayhem and tremendous monsters. Dig the plot: 

When the King is killed by ferocious reptile beasts, his Queen takes control of the kingdom. She tries to kill her beautiful stepdaughter SNOW, but she escapes into the enchanted forest...

In my continuing effort to not spoil films when I review them, I won't go much deeper into the plot except to say that this ain't your little sister's Snow White, not by a long shot.

The film is anchored with vibrant performances from its leads, including Eliza Bennett as the titular princess, who tackles the role as potent yet naive, as beautiful and elegant as a princess should be, but with the hidden soul of a warrior. Jane March as the Wicked Queen is delightfully deceitful and eloquently two-faced; this lady enters a room, it goes stone cold. And Jamie Thomas in the role of the Prince is indeed charming, but more than that he is steadfast and honest, a true prince among knaves, not blinded by his privileged existence but rather impassioned by it, and eager to serve the world. 

The script, from Asylum vet Naomi Selfman, retains all the classic elements of the original story, only now with utterly-Asylum updates, most notably the inclusion of said ferocious reptile beasts, and an interesting take on the dwarfs. The result is an epic yet intimate fairy tale on steroids, its more horrifying points amped to the Nth degree. This is Snow White like you never imagined it, the antithesis to the raven-haired, doe-eyed heroine of your childhood; this is dark, brutal, and awesome.

The direction from Rachel Goldenberg, another Asylum vet, is sweeping and elegiac, as Goldenberg makes wonderful use of the beauty and inherent spookiness of the British countryside, formulating the perfect fairy tale setting. Her work, teamed with that of the VFX department - who have hit it out of the park yet again, as far as I'm concerned - creates a film perhaps best described as a period-piece creature-feature, a Merchant-Ivory flick with work from Ray Harryhausen, or The Princess Bride as written by H.P. Lovecraft.

Overall then, if you're looking for a fantastical, frightening twist on a beloved childhood treasure, this is the version for you. Check it out for yourself this coming Tuesday, the 13th, when Grimm's Snow White hits DVD.

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