So here’s the thing about Shelved. It’s not a good movie, not a good horror movie in the conventional sense. However, some of its flaws (of which there are many) can be overlooked because A) it’s a Christmas horror movie and B) it doesn’t take itself seriously.
Combine the two and we have silly and occasionally funny Christmas horror that makes an elf the villain. That in itself is hardly a clever or original idea but whereas a killer elf or elves tend to be nameless and faceless, this one has a bit of a story behind him.
It’s a doll that is bought at a pawn shop by a father getting some last minute Christmas gifts. Why on earth he would choose this creepy looking doll for his young daughter is the first question that comes up.
None the less he buys it and brings it home for his child. However, this isn’t any ordinary elf doll. It is Private Gumdrop, an evil elf who was so good at keeping an eye on the children of world that his fellow elves got jealous. So jealous that they kidnapped (elf-knapped?) him and tortured him. It drove Private Gumdrop mad and now he’s out to make the lives of humanity a misery.
Of course, only the child (Alice) can see Private Gumdrop for what he is but will she be able to stop him?
Director Michael Cullen referred to Shelved as a “slashomedy” and it’s a fitting description. All the horror is there to be found and while it’s hardly a laugh out loud movie from beginning to end, it does get the balance right on a number of occasions.
Private Gumdrop is the star and his antics are often very silly but gleeful. It’s not about just killing with him. He wants to cause trouble and most of it surrounds making Alice look like she’s a little monster. Why else would he crap in the Christmas cookies!? Although his voice does begin to grate after a while.
Of course, the parents don’t believe her but considering how wrapped up they are in their own things, it’s not surprising. Her mother in particular is hilariously obsessed with health fads and standing against commercialism. It’s silly but played so well. It’s just fun and thankfully characters do have a little more depth. Showcased when we meet the extended family members. It’s not needed but welcome as it balances the silliness out.
Ultimately the films lack of budget becomes its biggest issue & the real let-down is the effects. While not the worst you’ll see. At least when it comes to the blood and guts kind of thing. Some are too obvious to ignore. Such as the puppet strings that once you’ve noticed you won’t be able to not notice.
Considering the wealth of bad Christmas horrors out there, Shelved can at least be held in higher esteem. The balance of comedy and horror is done well enough to make it a worthwhile watch.
The Final Score - 6/10