Elves, The holiday Horror You Wish Came With A Gift Receipt
Elves, Film Details
Director: Jamaal Burden
Release Date: November 19, 2018
Release Format: VOD
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hr 20 min
When a group of friends discovers ancient elves locked in a cursed chest, they unknowingly unleash their wrath on the world.
Some college friends are having a Christmas party at a construction site when one suggests they play a game. She pulls a creepy looking elf doll from a chest and asks them all to write the worst thing they have ever done and consecrated their submissions by signing “the naughty list”. After a round of shots, the instigator states the game to be real and leaves in a panic. Jokingly, the group shrugs off the event until, one by one, demonic elves plague them, ultimately ending in a horrible demise.
On paper, Elves sounds like an interesting concept and judging by the poster one would suspect a bunch of Christmas themed “Chucky dolls” on a yule-time murder spree, but don’t be fooled. This film was difficult to get through, and not in the blood curdling good way. The acting in the film was pretty awful. Actress Lisa May achieved the only half decent performance with her portrayal of Taff. Unfortunately, May’s cinematography did not match her acting skills.
There are plenty of shaky camera shots and Director Jamaal Burden, on two occasions in the film, allowed the camera to drop to the knees of actors in the middle of a dialogue. I cannot comprehend why he would not retake those shots. Also, I couldn’t tell if the harsh exposure during the day scenes was on purpose or if they had just not changed the settings of the camera for the indoor/night settings. The sound was equally annoying and I constantly fidgeted with the volume, trying to make out what was being said between two actors standing right next to each other.
There were virtually no practical effects, save a few blood capsules and one sliced neck that looked like anyone could buy at a Halloween store. Elves relied heavy on CGI and I can’t blame Dark Vortex, as much as the budget for this movie, when considering its production value. One trick of lights in Elves was reminiscent of Evil Dead; a scene where the Christmas lights wrap themselves around a character, eventually choking him to death.
The only saving grace for Elves was the elves themselves. Created by Marissa L. Vega, the dolls are nothing you would buy as a gift for your child. Or an adult. The little guys are creepy and well crafted. But, disappointingly, there are only two and they look nothing close to what is advertised in the poster. Moreover, they are not animated in any way and it was the actor’s job to create a sense of struggle and despair.
Although the idea for Elves was somewhat original it seemed as Director Jamaal Burden and his crew might have bitten off more than they could chew. I found no scene particularly scary, and it has to do with the poor execution of Elves. No pun intended.