"Do you remember what having fun is?" snarls Jaime Winstone's eponymous slacker detective 30 minutes into "Elfie Hopkins."
“Do you remember what having fun is?” snarls Jaime Winstone’s eponymous slacker detective 30 minutes into “Elfie Hopkins.” It’s a pertinent question: this far into Ryan Andrews’ debut feature, many viewers will have forgotten. A grim horror-comedy that amuses only when it tries to alarm, pic represents an ill-advised attempt to mesh jaunty countryside antics in the “Tamara Drewe” vein with a third-act tumble into slasher territory. It’d take a sprightlier star than the rigidly sullen Winstone to lure auds into the resulting farrago, which is both too twee for genre aficionados and too grotesque for the Britcom set.
Like Nancy Drew styled by Courtney Love, motherless Elfie skulks around her sleepy English village in pursuit of shady activity, trailed by marijuana smoke and her geeky, mystifyingly devoted best friend Dylan (Aneurin Barnard). She finally hits upon a genuine mystery in the handsome form of next-door neighbor Charlie (Rupert Evans, absurdly young for the role), an urbane family man and travel agent, whose customers never seem to return from vacation. Ensuing hijinks gain in nastiness what they lose in logic; flat sound design and pastel-saturated lensing aren’t conducive to tension.