Elfie Hopkins Reviews
Elfie Hopkins is likeable, as is her best friend Parker. The Gammons are quirky and interesting, and really are the only part of the movie that is interesting...especially when they start playing head games with Elfie.
This movie could have been great with some tweaking.
The tone is uneven, but that doesn't bother me at all. I liked it but it's not THE BURBS.
"I thought you didn't believe in killing."-Elliot Gammon (Will Payne)
Jamie Winstone is Elfie Hopkins, an asbo style Miss Marple who spends her time spying on her neighbours in her sleepy village in the hope that one of them might do something wrong so that she and sidekick, and Kick Ass lookalike, Aneurin Barnard, can investigate. It seems their prayers are answered when the mysterious Gammon family move next door. And she is right to think there is something up with the Gammons. They might as well have marched into the village with a huge sign saying "We are the baddies!". As folk begin to go missing in the village on the pretence of taking a Gammon business planned long holiday, Elfie seems like the only one who can figure out the Gammon's secret....with a bit of help from in internet.
It's a great shame that Elfie Hopkins has been so clumsily put together as the pieces are all present for an ITV drama serial, if not a movie franchise. Given the lack of exposition at the beginning of the film, this feels like it would have been better suited as the second Elfie Hopkins adventure. There is nothing at all wrong with Jamie Winstone as a lead actress. She does her best with the character and clunky dialogue and narrative. There is a decent range of supporting cast as well. Kimberley Nixon is terribly underused in a role which should have been bigger if we were to at all care about what happens to her. Similiarly, the usually excellent Steven Mackintosh isn't given a big enough role. Rupert Evans as the head of the Gammons is creepy in a sort Michael Fassbender impression type way while Gwyneth Keyworth is suitably bonkers as Ruby, one of the Gammon children.
The whole film is also brilliantly shot in British Autumnal ruralness but no matter how good it may look and how accomplished it's assembled cast may be, this can't stop the film from being a bit of an incoherent mess.
Ray Winstone, presumably hoping that this could have been the start of a franchise for his daughter, pops up in one scene as a League of Gentlemen style butcher. His cameo adds nothing to the film at all. It's the lack of sense that makes Elfie Hopkins ultimately fail though.
We are told the Gammons run a bespoke holiday service. This is a plot point just a bit too hard to swallow in the current financial crisis. It seems that there could have been anything the Gammons did to justify their wealth that would have been much more believable than this.
The result is that Elfie Hopkins is another entry in a line of frustrating British horror movies because it feels rushed and that no one really cared enough about it. There is the germ of a great character and idea here, with a talented cast to boot. Sometimes that's not enough though so it seems that Jamie Winstone may have to wait until she's old enough to play Marple before she begins amateur sleuthing again.
Jaime Winstone is a bit of a dud though. Completely miscast as a stoner teenager she plays Elfie as an affected, self indulgent hipster and is by far the least likeable character.
Think Shaun of the Dead with cannibals in the countryside.
This has been promoted as a horror movie, it's not. This belongs to that most odious of genres: the stoner comedy, "Nancy Drew" meets "Juno" for the "Harry Potter" generation. And yes it is as bad as that combination sounds.
Winstone has one of those faces you just want to slap and it doesn't help that her character is obnoxious, a moody smartass teen who just needs a good clip round the ear. If these are the role models teens have it's no wonder young people are so messed up today. (Now get off my damn lawn).
There's some nice use of color in the production design but this is underwhelmed by the awful photography. Bad enough that it's shot on video and is therefore soft focus to begin with, but the cinematographer insists on pursuing the old vaseline on the lens look. I kept wanting to take a J-cloth to the screen. There's one sequence involving balloons that is the most irritatingly edited piece of film in a long while.
This might be set in Wales but it's very much of the middle-England variety, inhabiting the world of JK Rowling and Nick Park. That's my idea of hell to be honest, I can't abide that sort of quirky British quaintness that American viewers seem to lap up.
If "Jennifer's Body" mixed with "Last Of The Summer Wine" sounds like a good time this just might be the movie you've been looking for.