Most people in the horror community would rather think of Christmas as second Halloween. A lot of us get through the holiday by watching Christmas horror movies to get by. So many good ones have been released this Christmas season: Anna and the Apocalypse, I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday and Slay Belles to name a few. Among those titles is a new sequel to the 2017 film The Elf, called ELVES. I watched it with the hope that it would take away those Christmas blues and unfortunately, it just created more.
ELVES was directed by Jamaal Burden and that is a word for this film…a burden. I had heard whispers about what to expect from this film but I went in a clean slate knowing that just because one person has an opinion, doesn’t mean that I can’t form my own. So, here we go.
This movie truly makes no sense. I got lost multiple times through the film wondering if I had missed something but the editing is so choppy and disconnected that it only seems like I had missed a scene when, in fact, I hadn’t. The acting won’t be winning any Oscars but I can’t help but wonder if it was because of the actors, the script or a combination of the two.
During the film, there are long and strange empty silences where no one is doing or saying anything. It seems like it should be for dramatic effect but because this movie builds zero tension, it just plays like someone forgot their lines. The film starts with a group of friends who have a “party” silently in a warehouse. A game is offered to play, to which they immediately insist “IT’S NOT A GAME!” Wait…didn’t you…just….
The effects are blatantly CGI and one of the characters got killed by the saddest decorated Christmas tree since Charlie Brown hung an ornament on that Christmas stick. The story then turned biblical about baby Jesus, Magi and the seven deadly sins and they completely lost me at that point. They even own up to the fact that the film is basically a copy of Truth or Dare in the quote, “This is like the movie Truth or Dare but with Snapchat filters.” What does that even mean?!?!?!
On a good note the video and audio quality are really good and there isn’t a drastic difference between spoken audio versus sound effects which can happen a lot in indie filmmaking, but those are truly the only positives that I can find in this whole film. I hate being so hard on a film and I truly try to find redeeming qualities, but I can’t find them if none exist. I guess ELVES just landed itself on the naughty list.