I said to someone with me, “I pretty much always like movies with Elijah Wood. He never picks bad projects because he doesn’t have to.” I’m referring to the fact that he probably is more than comfortable with his LOTR earnings and is now one of the lucky few that can work on projects for artistic merit alone. Some people have this ability and still manage to be in some terrible movies, but Elijah Wood doesn’t. He has incredible taste, particularly when it comes to horror films. His turn in the remake of Maniac was wonderfully terrifying, and we can’t forget that his production company SpectreVision has released some wonderful films, including one of the best films of 2018, Mandy.
This go round, in Ant Timpson’s Come To Daddy, Wood is not necessarily the scary one, at least for most of the film. That honor is bestowed to Stephen McHattie, who could be referred to as the titular “Daddy.” It’s almost as if Donnie, Walter, and The Dude from The Big Lebowski all lived in one body and also happened to be even more insane than Walter. He drinks almost all day. He has an unspoken menacing quality. While Elijah Wood’s Norville is a solid reproduction of every stereotype made about millennial artists, he has a real gold limited edition phone made by Lorde (which, sadly, or maybe gladly…isn’t a real thing), he has a ridiculous black bowl cut and mustache, wears asymmetrical baggy clothing reminiscent of Ric Owen. He’s “big in the music business (read: not really at all)” He’s also 35 and lives at home with his mother in Beverly Hills.
“His attempts to impress his father go south every time. Until finally his father’s animosity towards him reaches a fever pitch…”
Norville hadn’t seen his father in many years. Daddy had walked out on them, but prior to the start of Come to Daddy, Norville receives a letter from him, telling him to come visit. His father lives in a beautiful house on a rocky beach that looks like “a UFO from the 1960’s” (it really does). Norville is nervous and tries to impress his dad, going so far as to stretch the truth quite a bit by saying he’s a close friend of Elton John’s. His attempts to impress his father go south every time. Until finally his father’s animosity towards him reaches a fever pitch. From this point forward, all bets are off. It’s a crazy, hilarious, gross adventure with plenty of twists and turns and a lot of creative weaponry.
So far, this film, while not directly a horror film but more of a horror/comedy hybrid is my favorite horror offering of the year so far. It’s smart, uncompromising, inventive and just downright hilarious. Ant Timpson based the story on some true events in his life, which I won’t get down to in this review as it will spoil the film for you. I will say that if you’re a true independent film fan, you will be excited by a particular cameo performance towards the end. Just go out and see it as soon as you get a chance. It’s a most worthwhile viewing experience, and you’ll never look at a grilling fork the same way again.
Come to Daddy (2019) Directed by Ant Timpson. Written by Toby Harvard. Starring Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, One Grauer, Michael Smiley, Madeleine Sami, Simon Chin, Garfield Wilson, Raresh Dimofte, Alia Rouba, and Martin Donovan. Come to Daddy screened at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
10 out of 10 stars