Elfie (Jaime Winston) is an aspiring detective that is always looking for the next case. She and her geeky assistant, Dylan are always on the lookout for their next case, which is why the arrival of a new family to their sleepy village raises some interest.
There’s something suspicious about the Gammon family, and before long it seems that Elfie’s instincts are accurate. This new family are definitely up to something. Soon, other residents start to disappear, though no-one is sure how or why.
As her investigation continues, Elfie gets dangerously close to the truth and quite literally has to escape the jaws of the evil Gammons, who turn out to be a family of cannibals.
Elfie Hopkins is a smallish production with some familiar names and faces that add value. Jaime’s dad Ray Winston makes a couple of short, timely appearances as does Steven Mackintosh (Luther, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). Jaime herself is no novice (Dead Set, Kidulthood) and with a string of screen performances under her belt she makes Elfie a likeable and believable character.
It’s easy to be drawn into the tale with curious happenings taking place from the offset. But before long, the concept wanes as unfortunately the film loses sight of what exactly it’s meant to be.
Elfie Hopkins is essentially a crime drama with some elements of horror. Think Hot Fuzz but without the comedy.
A majority of the film is spent ‘investigating’ the Gammon family, looking at whether they have sinister intentions, though the analysis seems to lack any of the clever police/detective techniques that usually make a film like this entertaining. Plus it’s made pretty obvious from the start (for the viewer at least) that the Gammons are indeed killing people.
It is the moments of violence, mainly towards the end of the film, that have pushed the film over the boundary from crime to horror.
Some of the scenes are unusually brutal and are no doubt the reason for the 18 certificate (at time of writing). It’s a shame as for the most part, Elfie Hopkins could have worked better had it been aimed at the younger teen market (15+).
Quality-wise, Elfie Hopkins is solid. Although it lacks some of the filmic qualities you might expect, it could easily be mistaken for a BBC production were it not for the more gory moments. This is probably due to the television bias when it comes to the exprience of much of the cast and crew.
Perhaps with less emphasis on casual drug use and violence and with a more intelligent approach to the mysterious aspects of the story, it could have made a great TV mini series in a similar vein to Sherlock.
Instead though, Elfie Hopkins sits uncomfortably in the middle: not offering enough scares for the horror crowd, not offering enough twists for crime lovers and lacking in the more complex dynamics (like sex) that the 18+ crowd might expect.
It’s frustrating as it feels as though the elements are all there, but that they just haven’t been assembled correctly.