In a peaceful and quiet rural village, the angry and weed-smoking grunge teen Elfie Hopkins is looking for some adventure.
Since her mother was ‘accidentally’ shot during a hunt, Elfie’s mission has been to uncover anything suspicious around the village as she attempts to make up for her failure in solving her mother’s case.
This eccentric blue-haired teen finds more than she bargains for, when the Gammons move in to town. The family is a group of peculiarly dressed, strangely behaved world travellers, turning out to be cannibals.
As the film began, I thought this would be a Harriet the Spy teen coming-of-age light drama. I was surprised at how wrong I was. The concept of the film is more of a British, more gruesome Twilight. Director Ryan Andrews notes this fusion of British and American culture about the film: “Elfie Hopkins is a high-concept genre film that combines an eclectic mix of British twee and American grunge.”
Jamie Winstone plays Elfie Hopkins who transforms into this seemingly tough yet extremely vulnerable teen she credits as her ‘alter ego.’ Speaking about the film, Winstone affirms that Elfie was a “dream role to play” and argues that there has been a gap in the British film industry for this type of quirky horror entertainment which she labels as Twin Peaks meets Miss Marple, with a Tim Burton-esque fantasy feel, underlined by an X Files tone.
Jamie’s father Ray Winstone is also heavily involved in the project, producing and acting as the mysterious Butcher Bryn who saves Elfie and best friend Dylan Parker from the Gammons.
Aneurin Barnard plays the part of nerdy best friend/ love-struck lap dog well, whilst the Gammons (Rupert Evans, Kate Magowan, Will Payne and Gwyneth Keyworth) portray the modern Adams Family, successfully merging courtesy and outward notions of being the ‘perfect family unit’ with eerie and sinister behaviour.
I can see what the film is aiming for: it’s a modern quirky Pop culture British cult film, and it does achieve this. It is certainly different from anything I have seen for a while, and it fills this genre gap. The question is whether this gap needed filling in the first place. Whilst the film was unexpected and fresh, it was also over the top and unrealistic.
The ending sees almost everyone in the village killed by the Gammons in very exaggerated, graphic bloody scenes. They only conclude with a suspiciously opportune scenario when the butcher comes back to save the day for Elfie and Dylan.
Either way, whilst this film was enjoyable, I can’t see it being a box-office hit for the mass market. It seems more likely that Elfie Hopkins will achieve success in a smaller more tailored circle of audiences who appreciate stylish and twisted tales of cannibalism.
Elfie Hopkins, presented by Kaleidoscope Film Distribution, is released in select cinemas on 20th April 2012.
Watch the trailer for Elfie Hopkins here: