This film was a blind buy at the local HMV because I had heard nothing about it. The cover hints at a humorous dark comedy and although the film has a sense of humour it is actually more dramatic than I expected.It had some of the feel of a cosy British detective drama but it ups the stake quite a bit towards the end.
The title character Elfie Hopkins (Jaime Winstone) is an aspiring detective who seems to play the role of a detective to cope with her feelings about losing her mother in a tragic accident that she blames herself for. When a new family move in next door she takes an interest in them, concludes that they are up to something and starts investigating them. Or at least she gets her best friend Parker (Aneurin Barnard) to do it. Parker is obsessed with Elfie and willing to do anything for her.
The new neighbours, the Gammons are very friendly and invite all their neighbours round for drinks. Mr Gammon (Rupert Evans) works as a travel agent who specialises in remote exotic holidays and they who have travelled across the world themselves before choosing to settle in their village with his wife (Kate Magowan) and children. When drink causes old rivalries to erupt between two of the men Mr Gammon uses his easy charm to put an end to it and even cynical Elfie starts to warm to him. She still send Parker to case out the house upstairs where he meets their scary over-the-top daughter Ruby Gammon (Gwyneth Keyworth) who takes a liking to Parker. There’s also the creepy son Elliot (Will Payne) who dresses in black and is obsessed with guns, knives and hunting
Elfie and Parker talk to the local butcher Mr Bryn (Ray Winstone) who tells them that Mr Gammon asked him to sharpen his knives which are much more ornate and expensive than his own. This only counts as slightly strange so he tells them a creepy and pointless story about a killer stag he had to kill one time. It is the most gratuitous padding of a part I’ve ever seen.
Parker starts out finding more about the Gammons but Elfie takes the more direct approach of looking in their window. Mr Gammon discovers her but he’s nice and patient and even shows her some yoga. Elfie starts thinking he’s the coolest person in the village. Parker has discovered that everywhere that the family stayed has seen a number of mysterious disappearances. Elfie has always enjoyed playing the detective but she and Parker may find themselves in over their heads when they discover the Gammons’ grisly secret.
This film has the look of a British detective show set in the quiet countryside but this has a lot more violence, death and gore. I thought that Elfie’s quirkiness would get annoying but they sort of tried to justify it and the character goes though some growth through the film. The acting is pretty average for the most part but Rupert Evans is pretty good as the charming Mr Gammon. It doesn’t have big budget but the film-makers make the most of what they had. I did like the film and if you like low-budget independent films you might enjoy it too.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Who are the neighbours having for dinner? ELFIE HOPKINS UK DVD/Blu-Ray News (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Elfie Hopkins Sinks Her Teeth into UK Blu-ray and DVD (dreadcentral.com)