15th Dec2021

‘Elves’ Review (Netflix)

by Alain Elliott

I was very very excited when I heard Netflix had an all new Christmas horror series coming this year. There’s nowhere near enough Christmas shows and there’s even less Christmas horror shows.

In the Danish show Elves a family of four travel to a remote island in Denmark for Christmas. There arrival seems to bother the locals though and the electric fence surrounded the forests on the island is keeping something from escaping.

This is not what most people will think of when you think elves but it’s a really cool horror-filled take on the Christmas ‘creatures’. Because here they are definitely that, creatures. For much of this short six episode series we don’t see a whole lot of them. Well, we see a single baby elf and not too much else. There’s definitely a Gizmo from Gremlins likeness in the way the baby looks and acts and how it is portrayed as the innocent child of the evil creatures. Thankfully, when we do get to see the adult elves they are suitably creepy. They look part tree, part human, like some evil Groot and they are very much scary and brutally violent.

Although the blood and gore in Elves might not be as prolific as some horror fans would like, there is still some highlights when it comes to these more horrorific scenes. I think what Elves does best is build-up to that final episode and as the episodes are only about twenty five minutes long, you wouldn’t even call it a slow build towards the last twenty five minutes. The last episode feels frantic and exciting, you’re waiting to see the elves properly and what damage they can do. You know which characters you want to see survive and the ones you don’t mind being eaten and it all culminates nicely. The last episode really doesn’t disappoint.

Some viewers may be a little disappointed in the first few episodes, that not enough happens and we don’t get to know as much about some of the characters as we could and this would be valid. A little more elf horror action would not have gone a miss for me.

There’s plenty of good performances to enjoy though. Rasmus Hammerich as Moller gets to play one of the best characters but he makes it that. Moller could easily be a quiet tough guy with not much about him but Hammerich makes sure he is more than that. A much less experienced actor is the other stand out, Vivelilli Sogaard Holm plays Liv, the young woman who lives on the island. Once again, it’s character who could be played very simply and fade into the background but Holm plays the role so well that the character becomes important.

Starting off as a Christmas drama – the first episodes are when we see the decorations and the tree and we know things are clearly set at that time of year – but then slowly turning into a full-on horror by the time the last episode rolls around. Hopefully Elves has been watched enough that we get a second season this time next year because there’s plenty more stories that can come from this island each Christmas.

Elves is available to watch on Netflix now.

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