1985’s Young Sherlock Holmes could, and possibly should, have been a beloved classic from my childhood. It ticks a lot of the boxes of the kind of light-hearted adventure film that would definitely have appealed to me in my pre-teen years. But it seems to have passed me by.
Which is perhaps no bad thing with the benefit of hindsight. Because, while it mostly is pretty harmless fun, there are one or two moments that would definitely have freaked me out as a child. Indeed there is one scene that, even though I hadn’t really seen the film until recently, did manage to haunt my younger self. I saw it in a promotional clip of the movie on some long-forgotten Saturday morning kids show but I had no idea it was from this movie. It involves the young Watson, under the influence of a hallucinogen, being attacked by anthropomorphic, and somewhat demonic, cream cakes. To be honest, I still found that particular scene a little unsettling when I watched the movie as an adult, but as a child, and taken out of context, I found it genuinely harrowing.
Still, that scene aside, and ignoring a few other mis-steps with regards fidelity to the source material, some clumsy story-telling and a somewhat bleaker ending than the preceding 90ish minutes would lead you to expect, this is a relatively watchable movie. It definitely hasn’t stood the test of time as well as some of its contemporaries but I could envisage a scenario whereby, had I watched it regularly as a child, this would still be one of my favourite films and I’m certain there are plenty of people who feel that way about it.
Score for Christmasishness
All things considered, this is pretty Christmas(ish). Set in Victorian England, in the build-up to Christmas and with the concluding scenes taking place on Christmas Day, this could well be a staple for many a Christmas movie viewing list. It’s not the most cheerful denouement and it takes some pretty darks turns at times, so festive cheer is not in regular supply and ultimately the narrative is not reliant on the Christmas setting, but it does, nonetheless, have some solid Christmas credentials.