Some may question if this is a horror movie but I think if there is a witch, magic spells, and horrific acts are directed at innocents then it qualifies. This version of the Snow White tale focuses on that moment in the woods where the huntsman, ordered to kill the girl and return her heart to the queen, decides to rebel and follow his conscience. Consequently, they must seek refuge and devise a plan to regain Snow’s rightful claim to the throne and remove the threat of the queen. I love this concept of taking a smaller detail in the story and expanding it. I love turning around this traditional character and making her a feminist hero; and I love the feminist themes addressed by Charlize Theron’s queen. The queen is well aware that her power lies in her beauty, not just her magic, and makes it poignantly clear that it is the fate of most women, regardless of ability or intelligence to be revered only because of her looks. In contrast to the witches in Lords of Salem, who embrace their ‘ugly’, the queen knows she will lose her power if she loses her beauty and does not want to be an outlier.
Ultimately, the exploration of these themes falls short as the story turns into Braveheart with Snow leading a rebellion against the queen and and becoming the new beauty in power. Kristen Stewart, while lovely and good at being tough, is a stiff actress who is hard to like and the Huntsman, played by Thor, is easy on the eyes, but basically still Thor. There is a fantastically visual feast when Snow and Thor visit the fairy people which I will watch again and again, it’s psychedelic and beautiful. But otherwise, its clever twist on old ideas does not go far enough or take a creative enough turn. Definitely worth watching on cable but basically meh.