As the opening credits to Elfie Hopkins appear on screen you may have good reason to breath a gasp of horror, the production company behind the movie is Black & Blue films, who’s atrocities on the movie industry include Dead Cert, and The Devil’s Playground, two of the most atrocious pictures in British history. But as the enchanting font bearing the name Elfie Hopkins appears, and stays on screen for a ridiculous amount of time, you suddenly are compelled to stay with it.
Elfie Hopkins is a far more considered effort than anyone will ever give it credit for. Set in a small village Elfie (Jaime Winstone) is a sort of modern day Nancy Drew, who with her friend Dylan Parker (Aneurin Barnard) spend their days trying to solve crimes that don’t really exist. This is until the arrival of the Gammon’s, a new neighbor for Elfie, who immediately raises Elfie’s suspicions. With weird kids, and a peculiar demeanor, the Gammons soon become the prime culprits in the disappearance of some of the locals. Knowing she is right, but nobody believes her, the Gammons taunt Elfie, will she expose them before the village gets much smaller?
Directed and written by Ryan Andrews, Elfie Hopkins is an endearing piece of filmmaking. It has some great characters, a lot of humour, and a certain feel about it that keeps you glued to the screen. At the same time there is something of an alternative universe feel about the movie, certainly an alternative time. Elfie carries a pager, not a mobile phone, but has a computer with internet access, there are no DVD’s but plenty of VHS tapes around, and all the vehicles are of a time past; all this gives the movie a very unique feel.
There are a number of curveballs thrown to the audience, you think you know what the truth is behind the Gammons, but this later becomes up for debate. For a small community, death is dealt with in a rather blasé manner, and the recipients of a bloody end are not always as expected.
Ray Winstone makes an appearance as the demented butcher Bryn, he also is an executive producer (which Ray will tell you means nothing). As with everything else Elfie Hopkins, Bryn is an unusual character, with a very interesting turn of phrase.
There is a lot of adverse reviews about Elfie Hopkins, I can only assume that the reviewers expected something else, this is a black comedy, with it’s heart in horror, if you can take that onboard, and watch it for what it is, I’m sure you will warm to Elfie’s charms.
Elfie Hopkins is available on DVD now in the UK.