New Horror Releases: Elves (2018) - Reviewed

The concept of Elves turns a cute holiday decoration into a distorted doll of death.

According to legend, these old dolls are relics that house the souls of ancient beings. They are often evil in spirit, and need to be isolated from society as a security measure to keep all hell from breaking loose. This usually involves locking them away in a trunk and forgetting about them in an attic. That is until two unsuspecting kids go digging around for Christmas decorations. This is the set up for the latest holiday horror release from Uncork’d Entertainment. 

When a group of party goers find their names on a naughty list, it starts a twisted game where lives are at stake. The plot establishes itself early as a mash up of the films It Follows and Saw. There is nothing special in terms of the acting performances in this film, yet then again there isn’t much in terms of character depth for an actor to develop either. It should be noted that this movie is the hastily made sequel to last years low budget yuletide terror film The Elf.

Elves is a slow watch. I do like the concept, but the muddled story line gets confusing at times. Some of the gore unnecessarily uses CGI. Example - there is a scene where a victim gets stabbed in the neck. It is obvious achieved using CGI. A quick camera flash and post impalement makeup would have been far more believable and effective. I understand the concept of using CGI to create something that doesn’t exist, say a giant spider on a roof, but using it for a simple stabbing is overkill. I get that it is a quick, easy, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper method as a result, but it just comes across as lazy. I don’t want to harp too hard on this film. It is what it is.

Low budget films are the reflection of low budget productions. The end result is often only enjoyed by those with low budget tastes. Many shoe string budget horror films are often praised for being “so bad it’s good.” These movies are appreciated for the efforts put forth to make a film happen. There is a certain charm to fake plastic limbs drenched in red dyed corn syrup. Elves unfortunately is not one of those films. On a more positive note there is a good use of holiday music in this film. Creepy piano renditions of carols from the days of old are used in post death scenes, and the CGI elf face distortion of spirit possessed individuals is cool in a Snap Chatty sort of way. Overall Elves drags on with little suspense and falls victim to its own shortcomings. Minimal budget + minimal production = minimal enjoyment.

-Lee L. Lind