Elves

Santa's Little B*stards

by Curt Wiser

6

THE QUICK SELL
The Holiday Reaper, a ruthless killer that terrorized a small Texas town, has been caught. While celebrating, a group of friends find an elf inside a magical toy box

RELEASE DATE
4th December 2018

DIRECTED BY
Jamaal Burden

 
 

Ever since Krampus hit the screens in 2015, around this time of year our stockings become stuffed with Christmas themed Horror movies. One of the latest in this tradition is Elves, the 2018 movie from first time filmmaker Jamaal Burden.

This is not to be confused with the Elves film from 1989. This Elves was produced by Justin Price and Khu, the out of this world duo who brought you The Dawnseeker, which I also reviewed here on OC Movie Reviews.com.

The same Justin Price who wrote and directed The Elf in 2017. Elves is a quick draw sequel to The Elf, so I must admit I did not see The Elf, but I get a sense it will not be necessary to see both movies.

Elves is the story of a group of friends who gather for a party and give into peer pressure when they sign their names on a mysterious naughty list one of them brought. They quickly learn that now they are cursed, Elves inhabit the bodies of people around them to provoke them into killing themselves. The order in which they signed, sealed their fate and will determine the order of the deaths.

This movie is low budget, something I never hold against a filmmaker. In the case of Elves however, it feels like a low effort was put into most aspects of this movie. Resourceful indie filmmakers know that the one thing that cost you nothing is writing a script as good as it can be.

The one benefit we do have as indie filmmakers is time. The execution of the story and dialogue for Elves left a lot to be desired. I went to see who wrote the script, only to find nobody was listed? Then I went back to check the credits in the movie, still I could not find a person credited as a writer. I did learn that “Mr. X” is the editor of Elves, this could be his best work yet.

 
 
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Where is Santa when you need him?
 
 

One plus is that unintentional humor is often a backdrop while I was watching this movie. For example, I laughed during a scene of these cursed friends talking about their friends dying off and who will be next while they stand awkwardly in an over lit public library.

 
 

The mind wanders with (well, I guess that was a free location for them, it does not make much sense for this scene…. but it is better than using another house as a location…. oh right, there is a scene going on. What did she just say?)

 
 

The visual effects were well done, when the elves possess people, they have a creepy ear to ear grin. This was made possible through visual effects and it will remind you of the evil smiles from Truth or Dare, a clear inspiration which Elves even mentions in the dialogue at one point.

 
 

The acting was not good, in many cases I felt if the script was better these performances would have been elevated. The cast who gave it their all includes Deanne Grace Congo (“Daddy’s Home”, “Dark Moon Rising”) as Clover, Lisa May (“The 13th Friday”, “La Frontera”) is Taff, Amy Jo Guthrie (“The Elf”, “Shrub (Short)”) with the role of Sky and Lily Martinez plays Casi.

 
 

The first scene of Elves was problems in acting town, population two, when we get a slow paced scene with two young boys who took turns speaking their lines to each other. It was as if the kids were uncomfortable in their own skin, at least when a camera was pointed at them. While the minutes tick by of these kids tip toeing from room to room we are treated to another slice of unintended humor. During this scene, and many others like it in Elves, we hear a very busy sound mix of whispers and effects to add suspense. It is always good to have a bold dynamic sound design for a genre movie, but in this case the visuals are so bland and portray situations so un-suspenseful, that it all feels false.

 
 

With so many entertainment choices out there, an indie film needs to do all it can to be exceptional. In the case of Elves, maybe those involved thought just making another Christmas themed horror movie would be good since there is a strong market for it. That is not good enough in my opinion, but I always say it is up to you to decide as an audience. Elves is set to be released on DVD and VOD in December 2018.

 
 

Curt Wiser is the Writer/Director of the Suspense movie Cam-Girl. He is happy to see other filmmakers work and share them with the rest of the world.

 
 

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