2.5 out of 10
Release Date: 20th April 2012
Director: Ryan Andrews
Cast: Jaime Winstone, Aneurin Barnard, Rupert Evans, Kate Magowan, Kimberley Nixon, Gwyneth Keyworth, Will Payne with Steven Mackintosh and Ray Winstone
Writer: Ryan Andrews & Riyad Barmania
Trailer: ELFIE HOPKINS
Oh-oh. This was a mistake. Try to recall Tim Burton when he was at his most magical. Actually, strike that, I’m thinking of the early 90s film adaptations of The Addam’s Family by Barry Sonnenfeld. Try to remember the first one, with all it’s witty gothic spectacle and quirky humour. Then imagine it with all of it’s twists, it’s wit, it’s devilish script, it’s wonderful performances all excised. Now you have Elfie Hopkins. Perhaps the laziest attempt at a gothic thriller I’m yet to see. It has zero characterisation and minus zero tension or style. This won’t be the worst horror flick set in Wales released this year however, we can safely predict that The Reverend (2012) won’t be outdone. At least there is a vague air of professionalism in fleeting supply in Elfie Hopkins.
Okay, the poster describes this as a cross between Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd – so you know you’re squarely in Tim Burton-lite territory. The makers will have to do better than provide a few gnarled trees and dry ice to garner such lofty comparisons (eventhough I’m not a fan of the former). Elfie Hopkins (JAIME WINSTONE – WILD BILL) is an amateur detective who looks like she’s fell into Grotbag The Witch’s (The Pink Windmill Show) wardrobe. She is obsessed with the unsolved murder of her mother a decade earlier. Along with her besotted sidekick Dylan Parker (Aneurin Barnard – HUNKY DORY) she becomes notorious in her village as the local nut who is always on the look out for something ‘rotten in Denmark’. When The Gammons, a family of city slickers, move in next door her search for little piggies and suspicions prove bang on. This time her detective skills lead her to something all too grisly even for her. And so we have it, tired splatter ensues. The Gammons are led by the smarmy if bland Rupert Evans (HELLBOY) who are minted from arranging bespoke luxury holidays. Only life on a beach is a far cry from what their customer’s actually end up with. Oooh the mystery.
So what’s wrong with it? Quite a lot I’m afraid. Number one, the editing is terrible. Scenes swap back and forth from one another with no sense of place or reason. An early murder barely registers due to a lack of suspenseful music or any pace. This is one badly constructed horror movie. Not once does it generate any scares. So if it fails here, does it work as a comedy? Sadly it doesn’t raise anything close to a smile. The performances are uniformly terrible. Only Steven Mackintosh (THE HOUSE OF AMERICA) who pops up in a really small role puts any effort in as a red herring with a flawless Welsh accent. He’s actually from Cambridge in real life. Which is more than be said for a beyond pointless extended cameo by Jamie’s dad, Ray Winstone (FATHERS OF GIRLS). His inexplicably bad West Country accent renders an anecdote about a renegade stag near incomprehensible and doubly stupid. I can’t think of a single reason to recommend this slice of wack horror -comedy. It made me wish that the psycho-farmer from Devil’s Bridge would stop by a put an end to everyone but he never did. Think I’ll stop here. G’nite.
2.5 out of 10 – Badly paced, not scary, not funny, utterly derivative of films that effortly out-class this Wales-set piece of emo-crap. Avoid boredom. I’d sooner file my tax return than see stuff this creatively dead. Sucks so well it’d make Monica Lewinski jealous.
NOW READ JOE PESCI II’S REALLY GROTESQUE REVIEW BELOW. DARE YOU READ HIS SCRIBBLINGS BELOW THE HAIRY TRAPDOOR?
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Jaime Winstone: The Last Photograph, Love Rosie, The Powder Room, uwantme2killhim?, Wild Bill (2012), Anuvahood, Made In Dagenham, Kidulthood, Donkey Punch
- Aneurin Barnard: War & Peace (TV), Bitter Harvest, Legend (2015), Cilla (TV), The Adventurer – The Curse of the Midas Box, Citadel, The Facility, Trap For Cinderella, Powder (2011), We’ll Take Manhattan, Hunky Dory, Ironclad
- Rupert Evans: Belly of the Bulldog, The Man In The High Castle (TV), The Canal, The Village (TV), The Incident, Hellboy
- Kate Magowan: Winter, Plastic, The Fall Of The Essex Boys, Outside Bet, Screwed (2011), A Lonely Place To Die, 4-3-2-1. Stardust, Kidulthood, It’s All Gone Pete Tong
- Kimberley Nixon: Hunky Dory, Offender, Resistance, Cherrybomb, Black Death, Easy Virtue, Wild Child
- Will Payne: The Adventurer – The Curse of the Midas Box, Mr Selfridge (TV), Fright Night 2,
- Steven Mackintosh: Urban Hymn, A Hundred Streets, Bone In The Throat, Set Fire To The Stars, Robot Overlords, Gold, The Sweeney Movie, The Scouting Book For Boys, Luther (TV), Underworld 2 & 3, The Escapist, Land Girls, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, House Of America, The Grotesque, Blue Juice, Princess Caraboo, The Buddha Of Suburbia (TV), London Kills Me
- Ray Winstone: Point Break (2015), The Legend of Barney Thompson, The Gunman, Noah, Lords of London, The Hot Potato, The Sweeney Movie, Snow White & The Huntsman, Elfie Hopkins, Hugo, Fathers Of Girls, London Boulevard, The Devil’s Tomb, Rango (voice), Tracker, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll, 44 Inch Chest, Edge Of Darkness, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skulls, Fool’s Gold, Breaking and Entering, The Departed, Cold Mountain, Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe (voice), The Proposition, King Arthur (2004), Ripley’s Game, The Martins, Last Orders, Sexy Beast, There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble, Nil By Mouth, Love Honour and Obey, Fanny and Elvis, Final Cut, Martha – Meet Daniel Luke and Laurence, Face, Ladybird Ladybird, Tank Malling, Quadrophenia, Scum, Robin Of Sherwood (TV)