Elfie Hopkins Movie Review
Directed by Ryan Andrews
Written by Ryan Andrews, Riyad Barmania
2012, 89 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 13th August 2012
Jamie Winstone as Elfie Hopkins
Aneurin Barnard as Parker
Rupert Evans as Mr Gammon
Steven Mackintosh as Michael
Kimberly Nixon as Pippa
Ray Winstone as Butcher Bryn
There’s something about quiet English towns that attracts the bizarre. Be it cults, pagans or small town serial killers, crazy people seem to be drawn to sleepy rural haunts. Quirky Brit slasher Elfie Hopkins does nothing to buck this tried and tested cinematic trend, but instead attempts to inject some young blood into the mix. Lead by Jamie Winstone (daughter of Cockney actor Ray), we’re invited into a dark tale of real life monsters that struggles to live up to its ambitious premise.
Winstone Jr plays our eponymous lead. A snarky, pot-smoking teen who sees everyone in her Welsh village as a potential weirdo. It’s this snoop-happy disposition, combined with the pain caused by her mother’s mysterious death, that convinces Elfie to take up the self-appointed role of town detective. Joined by her scrawny best buddy and secret admirer Parker (Aneurin Barnard), the duo’s sleuth skills are put to the test when a family of creeps moves in next door. As the town’s residents suddenly start to disappear, Elfie and Parker move closer to uncovering the disturbing truth behind the flesh-eating Gammon family.
Director Ryan Andrews handles his big screen debut with confidence and quality. When it's time to be scared he pumps every sequence with a haze of eerie atmosphere and every now and then you’ll find a discreet nod to a bygone horror classic. Visually, Andrews does wonders in finding his own voice and distinct brand of UK horror, but is unfortunately let down by his on screen collaborators. While the big bad Mr Gammon (Rupert Evans) proves to be a suitably slimy foe, it’s our heroine that’ll really have you hiding behind your pillow. The problem? Every line uttered by Miss Winstone is delivered in the same hammy tone, accompanied by the same sarcasm-laced facial expression. It’s a performance that sadly takes you out of the story and something that not even an amusing cameo from her famous Dad can salvage.
She’s not completely to blame though. The weird-as-hell Gammon children come across more like kooky T4 host rejects than menacing meanies while the story flounders a bit towards its grizzly climax. Combine this with an ending that’ll leave you with a head full of ‘Wait a minutes’ and ‘What abouts?’ and Elfie Hopkins loses stars while it raises eyebrows. However, with plenty of gore and malice there’s no denying that it’s a movie that’s not afraid to show its teeth. Apparently cut down to secure a 15 certificate, it’s hard not to wonder how Andrews’ debut might have benefitted from embracing all out splatter. We’re holding out for take two.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.