In the annals of Christmas film history, there are a select few films that tend to stand out above the rest, at least in terms of popular opinion. Such entries include classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, and A Christmas Story. On the more modern side of the holiday classic spectrum sits 2003’s Elf, commonly considered one of the most downright cheerful movies out there.
Directed by eventual Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau, Elf of course stars Will Ferrell – giving one of his most beloved performances ever – as Buddy, an orphan human infant who ends up adopted by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) after stowing away inside Santa’s sack of gifts and inadvertently hitching a ride back to the North Pole. Buddy is raised as an elf, only to accidentally learn of his true human ancestry, and subsequently of the fact that his birth father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) is unaware of his existence. Buddy heads to New York City to reconnect with his dad, but things go far from smoothly, leading to a hilarious good time that’s very much appropriate for the entire family.
Elf has truly become a holiday mainstay for many, with Buddy’s adorable innocence never ceasing to shine through courtesy of Ferrell. That said, when looked at from a more realistic and less whimsical perspective, the idea of a grown man fervently believing himself to be an elf is not exactly comforting. In fact, it’s actually a bit unsettling. Such is the premise examined by CineFix’s new recut Elf trailer, which casts Buddy as a (possibly dangerous) mentally unstable man who’ll seemingly do anything to reunite with his father…or else. The full clip can be seen above.
The recut Elf trailer once again serves to illustrate just how important music is to setting a mood, as so much of the horrific atmosphere of the new trailer is directly tied to the spine-tingling soundtrack used. When backed by scary music, Buddy’s previously cute statements and comedic misunderstandings are lent a frightening context, presenting a man completely unable to come to terms with his own humanity. Adding to the creep factor is Ferrell’s sheer size, who at 6’3” towers over the 5’9” Caan. Should Buddy fly off the handle, one assumes he could kill Walter with his bare hands.
Elf is not the first Christmas classic to receive the recut horror trailer treatment as of late, with Tim Allen’s 1994 effort The Santa Clause recently reedited to make Scott Calvin look like a dangerous kidnapper. One wonders how long it’ll take for a further recut to cast Buddy and Scott as a duo of Christmas-related criminals on a rampage, with plans to punish those on the naughty list.