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This film image released by Universal Pictures shows Chris Hemsworth, left, and Kristen Stewart in a scene from "Snow White and the Huntsman". (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Alex Bailey)

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Wow, this movie is dark. I know most fairy tales are based on some fairly gruesome stuff. But usually in the telling of a fairy tale, there are at least a few cutesy moments.

What we get in "Snow White and the Huntsman" is little, or none of the above. This is a horror movie.

Kristen Stewart stars as Snow White, and after her mother dies, her inconsolable father finds solace in the arms of the beautiful Ravenna — the soon-to-be-evil stepmother. Charlize Theron is quite remarkable, delivering a chillingly psychotic woman laden with dark magic and fixated on remaining the most beautiful in the land. In order to sustain her charms, Ravenna literally sucks the youth from others and absorbs even the beauty from the land.

Meanwhile, Snow White has been thought dead by her people but really imprisoned in a remote tower. The queen has all but forgotten her until the "mirror on the wall" proclaims that the stepdaughter is now the fairest in the land. Well, this does not bode well for the young girl, and Ravenna's creepy, sycophant brother is dispatched to retrieve the girl's heart to, once and for all, assure the queen's allure.

Here, Snow's odyssey begins when she turns the tables on "creepy brother" and flees into the dark woods and fights to stay alive all while the castle troops search for her. A huntsman, familiar with the terrifying forest, is employed to track her down. It doesn't take long for Chris Hemsworth, as the ax-wielding huntsman, to fall for Snow White and make it his mission to ensure her safety. Liberties are certainly taken with the 1812 Brothers Grimm rendition, but much is at least a little familiar as we're introduced to the seven dwarfs, trolls, fairies and all kinds of enchanted flora and fauna.

But what about the ending and does everyone live happily ever after?

Just a quick note of conclusion, about the conclusion; Snow White seems to morph into Joan of Arc and get set for great Arthurian battle scenes with suits of armor, galloping, battle bedecked horses, flashing swords and yes, boiling oil — all the good stuff.

I'm still struggling with how many stars to give this film. "Snow White and the Huntsman" is well executed, the special effects are cool, the performances are good — although I kept envisioning the Huntsman with the Hammer of Thor rather that his axe. Kristen Stewart is still dealing with a sullenness still left over from Twilight, I suppose. Theron is, as mentioned before, chilling and, as was the case in "Mirror Mirror," there is much charm in the depiction of the seven dwarfs with some major league names stepping into the roles, including Bob Hoskins, Bobby Marsan and Toby Jones.

Ok, it's crunch time and I have to come up with a star rating. So … I'm going with 2 ½ stars. This will give the kiddies nightmares for years.

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