Movies

{Movie Review} Come to Daddy

Elijah Wood is the perfect example of how the success of large budget successful movies can provide a path for actors, writers and directors to pursue more nuanced projects. Come to Daddy continues in a vein of weird, off-kilter, horror adjacent movies that Wood has taken on. Come to Daddy represents a type of horror that can be both full of heart, horror and comedy. Its a genre mishmash for sure but the glory of the genre is never far from sight.

The story:  Norval Greenwood, a privileged man-child arrives at the beautiful and remote coastal cabin of his estranged father. He quickly discovers that not only is dad a jerk, but he also has a shady past that is rushing to catch up with both of them. Now, hundreds of miles from his cushy comfort zone, Norval must battle with demons, both real and perceived, in order to reconnect with a father he barely knows.

I went into this movie entirely blind and as a result the turn the movie takes about 45 minutes in were a total surprise and refocused the movie into the thriller it is billed as. To be honest the first act was uncomfortable, confusing and awkward. Not entirely different that some family interactions. Stephen McHattie features in the first thirty minutes and his alcoholism is the catalyst for a lot of the drama. Its uncomfortable. Its supposed to be. An interaction between Woods and McHattie surrounding Elton John is so cringe and laugh inducing I thought to myself I may not be able to handle ninety minutes of this.

As Come to Daddy warms into its suspense/thriller label Norval becomes more than the one dimension he appears to be at the start of the film. He is not brave, in fact perhaps the bravest thing he has ever done would be making the journey out to see his estranged father. As a result he doesn’t have much courage left. The action happens around him rather then with him. In that way I felt like he was constantly turning to the audience and sharing in the “can you believe this shit” attitude the movie leans into. Its a strange feeling to have the movies protagonist with so little agency. It also makes the final act of Come to Daddy really strong. The small bit of power Norville reclaims even at a price is reason to cheer.

Wood is on top of his game when playing emotive losers who find themselves in bizarre situations. Martin Donovan as Norville’s dad handles each bizarre situation with a perfunctory business like attitude that is the perfect foil to Wood’s confusion. Stephen McHattie chews up EVERY scene he is in. I just wanted him to put on a set of earphones and talk to us in French. Ant Timpson has created a small strange world in one of the most beautiful places in the world and that just adds to the sense that all of Come to Daddy is a bad dream caused by eating too many tacos too late at night. Really though Timpson captures the difficulty and complexity of connecting with family members, especially those that have let us down. Come to Daddy is out everywhere tomorrow and its worth a trip to see it.

Courtesy of Saban Films

ALL THE DETAILS:

Studio: Saban Films

Cast: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley, Madeleine Sami, Simon Chin

Directed by: Ant Timpson

Screenplay by: Toby Harvard

Story by: Toby Harvard

Produced by: Michelle Craig, Max Silva, Evan Horan

Release Date: February 7, 2020

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