After years spent locked in a grimy prison, time is up for fair princess Snow White (Kristen Stewart). Evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who murdered Snow White's father and seized his throne, has found a way to remain beautiful and young forever - but it requires her captive's beating heart. Snow White manages to escape Ravenna's clutches and flee into the dark forest before the spell is put into action. Incensed, the queen employs a brave but cantankerous Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to track her down, but when he realises that the prize he is promised isn't forthcoming, he sides with Snow White, becoming her protector and confidante in the battle against the vile Ravenna.
This ambitious revisioning of the well-known yarn puts the grim into The Grimms' fairytale. The dark - at times horrific - narrative is thrilling, hinging on Theron's chilling performance. She is aided by some stunning CGI and make-up and the fantasy land in which the action unfolds is breathtaking. Stewart's Snow White comes to life in the action-packed latter stages, and has a battling air of Joan of Arc when she dons her wartime armour.
While the seven dwarves aren't as prominent as in the original story, they are an uplifting highlight, with Nicholas Frost the pick of a British bunch including Bob Hoskins, Eddie Marsan and Ray Winstone.