Coming to Netflix from November 28, Elves is a six-part Danish series from the creators and executive producers behind The Rain. It’s a Christmas tale, but with a little touch of horror thrown in for good measure. Perfect.
A family of four are travelling by ferry to a remote Danish island for a Christmas break and the chance to hopefully reconnect as a family. As they disembark the ferry by car, they’re told that they need to take the coastal road in order to reach their accommodation, but decide to do their own thing and cut across the island through the forest instead. As they drive and bicker among themselves, their eyes aren’t focused on the road ahead and they hit something. They stop and all get out of the car to take a look, but other than a dent in the bumper, and some residual black goo on it, there’s no sign of whatever it was they hit. But while they’re assessing the damage, daughter Josefine notices more of the goo on some nearby grass, as if whatever it was they hit was injured and ran off. Josefine also notices that across the field there’s a more dense section of forest that’s sealed off by an electric fence, but her curiosity is soon interrupted by an angry local arriving in his truck. He reinforces the fact that they must stick to the coastal road, and urges them to get back in their car and quickly move on.
Arriving at their holiday home, the family soon settles into their Christmas vacation and the holiday spirit, decorating the accomodation with homemade decorations. Although, when they meet more of the small community who live on the island, not only do they find them to be a little mysterious, they’re also asked by them not to cut down any of the island trees for use as a Christmas tree. Karen, who appears to be the ‘village elder’, states that the island is to be treated as a nature reserve with trees staying in the ground where they belong. She also stresses once again that the family must stick to the coastal road when out travelling.
But curiosity gets the better of Josefine, who takes off by bike to go and investigate the site of the earlier accident. She discovers a small injured creature lying in the grass, brown and with big cute black eyes within a coconut shaped head. She wraps it up and brings it back to the barn that’s on the ground of the accommodation where they’re staying. There, she applies a band aid to its injured leg and feeds it some bacon, keeping it shut in the barn while it recovers. Eventually, she reveals the creature to her older brother Kasper, who is understandably a little more cautious.
When the family are invited to Karen’s house for coffee, the question comes up about the electric fence surrounding the forest. Karen feeds them a story about a lumber company that used to operate on the island until they contaminated the ground, making it unsafe for humans, so the area was blocked off, inaccessible to wanderers. But Josefine is having none of it, and when she learns that the coffee invite was part of a ruse to keep her family out of the way while another of the locals checks their barn for the injured creature, she decides to go and find out for herself what’s really behind that fence.
So, not really a spoiler, as the title already gives it away, but behind the fence are forest elves, and not the nice Santa Claus kind either. And, as cute as the baby forest elf appears to be, it does also have a bit of a wild streak about it (the remains of a cat discovered in the barn are proof of that, and kind of demonstrate that it usually prefers something a bit more substantial than bacon!). That, along with the fact that the residents felt the need to erect an electric fence, makes it pretty clear that the grown-up elves are likely to be a little more dangerous than their offspring. Not really the kind of thing a young girl should be messing with alone.
And it’s at this point that the horror element kicks in, although we have had the odd lit bit here and there already. Each episode of Elves is between 20-25 minutes and the first few episodes just breeze by, all feeling like a nice family Christmas story, with a bit of mystery, creepy locals and hints of Gremlins or E.T. along the way. But then, things eventually take a darker turn, and we suddenly find ourselves in Jurassic Park territory!
I really enjoyed Elves. It may feature aspects of shows and movies we’ve seen before, but it’s well written, looks great and has just the right mix of humour and horror, performed by a really good cast. The fact that it doesn’t drag out its story for too long either, makes for a nice easy watch, something different to enjoy over the Christmas period!
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.