This is the official plot of Elves:
“Christmas is under siege from a horde of evil elves in Jamaal Buden’s frighteningly fun Elves. The Holiday Reaper, a ruthless killer that terrorised a small Texas town, has been caught. While celebrating, a group of friends find an elf inside a magical toy box. When a freak accident kills one of them, they discover a group of elves have been scattered throughout town, each representing one of the seven deadly sins. It's a race against time to survive the elves’ wrath before Christmas ends".
This summary gets it wrong on several counts. There’s not a mention of The Holiday Reaper in the film, so God only knows what that’s all about. The friends don’t find an elf in a box, they are taken there to be its next victims. And finally, in describing the film with the words ‘frighteningly fun’, the description makes two more errors. Elves is neither fun nor frightening. Elves is bad. No, it’s not Michael Jackson bad. It’s not the bad that goes with “ass” or even the ‘so bad it’s good’ bad. It’s just bad as in terrible.
This sequel to 2017’s The Elf (no, us neither) lacks any kind of film-making talent in every department apart from one. The storytelling is all over the place, making you wonder what’s going on. A prologue turns out to have nothing at all to do with the rest of the film, rules set up in the opening scene become irrelevant, and people behave without any internal logic given the film’s premise. Half way through something in a mask takes over the killing. We don’t know why.
Rarely has acting so poor made it beyond fake You’ve Been Framed efforts, the cast unable to create anything approaching tension out of a nonsensical script and direction which leaves them speaking lines with other actors blocking them from view, or falling out of focus.
There’s really only one special effect, a face morphing thing which makes the possessed look slightly elfin - big eyes, pointy ears and mouths. At one point, the effect is forgotten about and the actor just lowers his chin and pulls a stupid face. It’s the one laugh in the entire film, but it’s a good one.
Only the music is worthy of any compliments, cleverly riffing on Christmas carols and yuletide jolliness. Had any other elements of the film shown anything like that level of tongue in cheek, this may have made Elves camp nonsense rather than crap nonsense.
ELVES / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR: JAMAAL BUDEN / STARRING: DEANNA GRACE CONGO, LISA MAY, AMY JO GUTHRIE, STEPHANIE MARIE BAGGETT, LILY MARTINEZ / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW