An aspiring teen detective stumbles into her first real case, when investigating the mysterious new family in her neighborhood.
Listed as a horror film, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this release with a name that sounds more like an off shoot title for a Harry Potter film. In fact I thought this might be a good case to model without any real preconception of what the film was about.
The character of Elfie Hopkins is played by actress Jaime Winstone (actual daughter to Ray Winstone who also appears in the film). Director Ryan Andrews brings us a story that one might associate with a dark fairy tale. Though it was clear after about 40 minutes in, that Elfie Hopkins is intended to introduce us to a Nancy-Drew-style character. Obsessed with detective work. Elfie often records her thoughts and the comments of others in a abstract method of accumulating clues. She is often referred to as being on an “investigation again” which I assumed was half-hearted meant as a joke among the adults. Despite their amusement with the youth, Elfie is quite a bright gal. One who doesn’t indulge in the trappings of society or fashion spending much of her free time stoned with her best friend. Her best friend arrives in buddy Dylan Parker (Aneurin Barnard), a smart nerdy type who shares her fascination with discovery. They often compare notes with Dylan taking his clues from the use of a camera. Elife who downplays her charming looks much of the time in old clothes and boyish outfits actually has secretly won the heart of Dylan (the more than admiring best friend).
Characters aside, the film is centered on Elfie’s new investigation. A new family moves in the house across from hers becoming instantly under radar. Maybe it’s her intuition, but Elfie suspects “something” from this group whose children are rather bizarre accompanied by a set of parents who are a little “too charming” to fully trust. The neighbors are the Gammons with Rupert Evans playing the father Mr. Gammon. His children are Elliot and Ruby Gammon. Elliot spends far too much time shooting targets in his rather brash manner with his sister Ruby taking the oddball role as a real life dress up doll. She proclaims a large interest in Japanese swordplay. Together they take on “that” characteristic that you would associate with a film like “Neighbors“
The Gammons who seem a bit too trendy for the area, proclaim that they spend their time equipping others with exotic vacations. They even manage to charm the locals when they have a small get-together. Elfie begins to put the clues together on this family leading her towards a string of disappearances and a sick notion that you wont want to miss. The horror element is indeed here but comes in smaller waves intertwined with the flavor of the film itself.
Elfie Hopkins is British horror thriller that holds a local community style (that reminds me of many of the films that have arrived from the UK). By premise alone, it comes across as a hybrid (which I expected to see a magic wand and a broom stick appearing at any second). Though the film stays clear of that, offering much of its action upon build up of the character of Elfie as a coming-of-age youth who can hold her own. Did the film fully entertain me, not quite, but it does have its moments. I found that Elfie seemed more content staying within in her bitter scoul-faced attitude, but when pulled out of her droll is quite a doll. Jaime Winstone has alot of character even when its played down. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see alot more of her in the future.
I “assume” that this will build into a potential franchise, if the movie-goer community warms up to the characters the way the director intended. Still even as a one-off, it’s not like everything else on the market which makes it special on its own accord. “Elfie Hopkins” is heartwarming at times and bold in a disgusting way at other times. You wouldn’t think that eating fingers and ears can be cute, but somehow it is. Elfie Hopkins “feels” like it should be a teen-horor novel that is a little bit too graphic for teens. Because of this, its audience might not be as clear cut as you would assume which might confuse its marketing. In all, it’s filmed in a beautiful part of the country playing up to the notion of the suspicious neighbors-next-door paranoia. You might even say that it was influenced by Tom Hanks “Burbs”, but we’ll leave it to its own impression for movie fans.
Elfie Hopkins (2012)