Elfie Hopkins (2012)

Bored little rich girl Elfie Hopkins (Jaime Winstone) wiles away her time in the countryside, getting stoned, fighting with her step-mother and vomiting exposition into a tape recorder.

Her investigative mind is sparked when some new neighbours arrive next door. The Gammons seem peculiar, with an Edward Cullen-a-like son and a batshit crazy daughter… and also seem nice. Far too nice.

Their appearance coincides with the disappearance of a local farmer, and the Gammons begin selling their ‘unique premium holidays’ to Elfie’s neighbours, sending them away for months.

But are they going on holiday or is the Gammon family doing something horrible to them? Elfie investigates…

Elfie Hopkins has a strange, otherworldly feel to it, like Wes Anderson meets early Tim Burton, filled with kooky characters, peculiar moments of darkness and countless, bizarre images.

It has a child-like quality to it, mixed with swearing, drugs and violence, and it’s oddly compelling. Writer / director Ryan Andrews is certainly a talented director and Elfie Hopkins is a visually arresting experience. For a debut feature its outstanding work.

Despite Andrews excellent directional vision, his script is lacking in actual direction. It meanders for a lot of the film, has swathes of pointless dialogue and the repeated references to getting stoned seem childish and forced. There are moments of genius but the majority of Andrews excellence is reserved for his hypnotic direction.

Jaime Winstone is excellently aloof as the titular Elfie, knocking out her best film noir protag impression with sharp one-liners and quirks. The rest of the cast roll out a plethora of strange and extreme characters, with some very decent performances from Gwyneth Keyworth and Rupert Evans.

Incidentally Elfie Hopkins is not a horror film. It does have horror elements, but it’s not attempting to be scary or violent or chilling. It is a kooky countryside noir!

Elfie Hopkins is lovingly created and enjoyably bizarre. It is fantastically well directed and well acted but suffers from poor scripting and a muddled plot. Despite a lack of any real surprises, Elfie Hopkins is certainly well worth watching.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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