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A good part of the hype surrounding Tommy Wirkola‘s Dead Snow predates any screenings of the film, or even trailers or posters, and springs from the film’s central premise alone: Nazi Zombies. That basic setup is all it took to get the film coverage across the whole geekosphere. I guess Wirkola is something of a master pitchman, then, because it seems like his potential follow up is moving ahead on the basis of another dynamite hook that sounds like fun but doesn’t actually have any particular depth to it.

According to producer Adam McKay, here’s what sold Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters:

The idea is, they’ve grown up and they hunt witches. It’s a hybrid sort of old-timey feeling, yet there’s pump-action shotguns. Modern technology but in an old style. We heard it and we were just like, ‘That’s a freakin’ franchise! You could make three of those!’

McKay is to produce the film with Will Ferrell and their other, less marquee-friendly co-producers at Gary Sanchez productions.

The Witch Hunters story picks up some 15 years after the whole Gingerbread house/oven trap scenario and reveals the Germanic siblings to be successful persecutors, possibly even executors, of wicked wiccans. The Hollywood Reporter are suggesting that the film will fall somewhere between Shaun of the Dead and Evil Dead 2, in approach if not in quality.

This film is almost guaranteed to feature a flashback to the witch killing of the original Hansel and Gretel story, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of twist-reveal hinge on subverting the old tale in some way.

Wirkola’s Dead Snow is launched this June by IFC and I doubt it can possibly fare badly enough at the box office to scupper this project. All the same, it wasn’t received with the same ferocious positivity after having actually been screened – it seems the hype on the film cooled off somewhat once people had finally seen it. Oops.

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