Come to Daddy Review
Stephen McHattie as Gordon
Garfield Wilson as Ronald Plum
Michael Smiley as Jethro
Martin Donovan as David
Madeleine Sami as Gladys
Ona Grauer as Precious
Directed by Ant Timpson
Come to Daddy review:
Films based around family reunions very seldom get the horror twist, deciding to stick closer to dysfunctional comedy or proceeding drama rather than thrills or chills, but Ant Timpson and Toby Harvard had other thoughts and brought Elijah Wood along for the ride at the humorous and nail-biting thriller Come to Daddy, and it pays off in spades.
Wood stars as Norval Greenwood, a Los Angeles musician who receives a letter from his long-estranged father asking to come see him at his lakeside cabin for a long-awaited family reunion. But as he attempts to connect with his father, he begins to notice he may be hiding secrets and things turn to the macabre as Norval finds the truth behind why his father left and the twisted events that are to come.
From the get-go, it’s apparent that things are going to be stressed and darkly comedic, and Timpson and Harvard find that balance in near-perfect nature, delivering some of the strangest and gut-busting laughs in the horror-comedy genre while at the same time keeping things stressed and pulses racing. From a heated conversation over if they know Elton John to explorations of what it’s like to grow up without a father and what it’s like to try and get closed on the years missing, the script feels refreshing and smart all the way through, never feeling like a bad imitation of other similar story efforts.
One of the best aspects of this movie comes from Wood in the lead role, the actor must find a way to deftly jump to the all in a matter of minutes and as his character is put through ringers. Wood proves to be committed to the role, understanding how to have audiences both sympathize because of his personality while still keeping them as to whether we should really root for him on the fence, giving off an air of douchebaggery along with a spirit that is kind.
McHattie also proves to be a marvel to watch, chewing up every piece of scenery in as Wood attempts to associate with him he is. He proves to be a character that viewers don’t want to root for, but want to see more of as the movie goes on, while understanding how to hit of the offbeat comedic notes carrying a really charisma. His chemistry with Wood is fascinating as they show a knack for understanding how to play to each character’s strengths and weaknesses and push the buttons of one another to get the best functionality from one another.
In addition to the terrific balance of tone and performances, the movie’s second and third acts prove to be among the most bonkers and exciting script overlaps with a eye-opening twist that begs for rewatches for clues of this revelation and sees the characters put through some of the most fraught, intense and darkly hilarious situations audiences have seen in a while. From individuals being stabbed with a pencil covered in a bodily fluid to individuals being choked out by female prostitutes that are muscled-up, the story always knows when to throw a little levity to its moments that are dark and chilling and it shines.
It’s certainly tough to go without spoiling the film for viewers, but for people who go in thinking they know where it goes and have the film, you will surely receive exciting surprises across its 93 minutes.
Overall, Harvard, Timpson and Wood have created among the funniest, most thought-provoking and disturbing efforts in each genre it fits in and it absolutely holds plenty of details and fantastic performances to draw multiple viewings.