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Film Review: Netflix's 'Elves'

By: Jonathan Williams

One of the best trends in horror over the years has been the growing demand for

yuletide horror. After all, what is not to like about combining many people’s two favorite holidays, Halloween, and Christmas? Not to mention they offer a reprieve for those experiencing holiday blues, and, in fact, resurrect one of the oldest yuletide traditions – ghost stories.

2021 didn’t offer much in Yuletide horror this year, but there was one, little gem that stood out: Netflix’s Danish series, ELVES. ELVES is a limited six-part series about a Danish family traveling to a remote island for their Christmas vacation. During the drive to their log cabin, the family gets into an argument, causing them to crash into an unidentified creature. When the family stops to inspect the damage, the animal appears to have limped off into the forest, leaving a trail of

black blood behind.

Confused, the family returns to the car as some of the town’s locals drive by with a foreboding warning. Undeterred, and not willing to end their Christmas vacation early, the family presses on to their cabin rental. Upon their arrival, the young daughter Josefine (Sonja Steen) sneaks off to return to the site of the accident. She follows the trail of black blood left behind by the animal, and soon discovers an adorable child-like creature. Fearing for its survival, Josefine takes the creature in, keeping it in a barn near their cabin. As she struggles to revive and care for the creature, she soon finds that it has an insatiable hunger for blood.

Josefine continues to feed the creature stray cats, rats, and squirrels in order to care for it. Meanwhile, the locals have become gravely concerned as there have been stirrings in the forest beyond. The creatures that they’ve lived in peace with, that live beyond a highly secured wall at the town’s border, have started to attack the townspeople. It soon becomes clear that the creatures are searching for their lost infant… the one Josefine has been caring for.

ELVES is a fun creature feature with great practical visual effects, and some fun blood and gore moments. As a six-episode series, with each episode running about 30 mins, it’s very easy to watch the whole series in one sitting. The story’s protagonist, Josefine, can prove somewhat difficult to like at times, as a kid who makes all the wrong decisions, but thankfully the story completes her character arc in a way that pays off in the end.

Where the series falters is that it struggles to balance its tone. The series seems to want to take a page from Gremlins, straddling the line between a movie for kids and a bloody and dark creature feature. While it does cause the series to feel a bit uneven and disjointed, it still manages to provide some fun, yuletide scares.

ELVES is streaming on Netflix.


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