Christmas thriller The Elf chops together horror and love

Feelings of redundancy makes the viewer want to stop watching

“The Elf” is about a girl, Victoria (Natassia Halabi) who is bringing her finance Nick (Gabriel Miller) home to meet her family but on the way, she confronts him about not having ever been introduced to a single member of his. It isn’t until later on in the movie that he reveals that his family is cursed and part of Santa’s naughty list.

Nick as a young boy witnessed a murder and trauma has haunted him all these years, especially around Christmas. He inherited an old toy shop where he stumbles across an elf doll in a chest but after Victoria deems the elf doll ugly, they abandon the shop together and head home. When they arrive, they are startled to find the same elf doll on an empty shelf in their living room. At first Victoria believes Nick is playing a cruel joke on her but after her family springs their surprise visit on the couple, she realizes a supernatural unfriendliness has come into their space.

While “The Elf” was intended as a horror film, but the musical score throughout the film ruins the mood because of its redundancy and soon grows irritating. The times the elf doll chant his spells off-screen raises some neck hairs at first but as the plot progresses, the chants are his only weapon besides his short height. His evil laughter bouncing towards viewers from off-screen became too obnoxious without being the slightest bit of scary. After the first half hour you are waiting for the movie to be over.

The only part that comes any close to creepy is seeing a live elf doll crawling close to the ground towards his potential victims, especially in the part where he strangles carolers with Christmas lights. He uses his short height to ambush his unsuspecting victims and hack at their ankles with a knife before he attempts their murders.

Other than that, it is more of a romantic flick with a dash of comedy rather than a remake of a different kind of Chucky movie. The plot becomes more about Victoria’s family disliking Nick and believing he is psychotic versus building up the backstory of the elf doll and its role in the plot enough to make the world believable. In that way, “The Conjuring” franchise films have done an excellent job when it comes to unfolding the story and building up the suspense.

In contrast, “The Elf” is dry and boring, and director Justin Price tries too hard to give the audience the scares needed for a horror genre’s success. As a whole, the scenes feel disjointed, mostly due to technical elements such as poor lighting and the shots lacking focus. “The Elf” is an appropriate choice for film nerds to sit down together and have fun tearing apart the movie even as they are watching it.

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