Director: Ant Timpson
Writers: Toby Harvard (story), Toby Harvard
Stars: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Garfield Wilson
Elijah Wood always makes for pleasant surprises. In terms of his choice of films, you cannot say that he plays it safe. His choices are always fairly quirky. I kind of compare him to Daniel Radcliffe. Another actor who doesn’t thrive on the worldwide success he achieved by playing one well-known character for most of his life. So too Elijah Wood who will be associated with Frodo forever and ever. Apparently they also have a common interest, namely that of deceased persons. Where Radcliffe played the role of a corpse in “Swiss Army Man“, Wood is stuck in this film with an embalmed corpse. Anyway, “Come to Daddy” is a macabre, dark, and slightly humorous film.
When I looked at the movie poster, I immediately thought of “Happy birthday to Me”. Not that “Come to Daddy” looks like a purebred slasher. But the fork Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) is holding on the cover, will be used in an ingenious, yet painful way. Norval is an eccentric, trendy DJ with Elton John in his circle of acquaintances. Stylish, contemporary dressed with artistically and strategically placed tattoos. A trimmed Freddie Mercury mustache. And a hairstyle as if it was styled using a soup tureen. Everything indicates that Norval is used to a high-society life and that the journey through the forest with a thumping wheeled suitcase behind him doesn’t really belong in that life. When he finally arrives at the beach house (which, according to Norval, resembles that of a flying saucer from the 1960s) and meets his father Brian, whom he hasn’t seen for years, it turns out that the latter is completely the opposite. Foul-mouthed, fairly brutal, untidy appearance and persistently topping a glass with liquor or wine. No picnic for Norval who recently renounced alcohol. Before he knows it, his smartphone (a limited edition in gold, designed by Lorde) sinks down to the bottom of the ocean, while his dad tried to take a selfie. The tone has been set.
“Come to Daddy” is a difficult movie to place. On the one hand, they tried to add a humorous note here and there. Although subtle black humor that won’t be enjoyed by everyone. On the other hand, there’s indeed a horror vibe that gets quite gory. Again, I’m not really such an avid fan of the combination of horror and comedy, because usually both genres feel incomplete. And to be honest in this movie as well. The humorous part wasn’t really funny (with only a rare chuckle). And I also found the horror part rather light-hearted. There’s no doubt that it has a high thriller content. And it’s certainly not a straightforward story. You could even say that they were a bit too lavish with the number of plot twists. But the absurdity in the story (such as a motel that is fully booked with visitors to a swingers convention. Who comes up with such an idea?) knows no boundaries. The insane and intimidating behavior that slowly evolves into a kind of “Cape Fear” aggression. The officer on duty and his belching. The coroner and the fact that Norval suddenly has a dead man in the house due to lack of space at the morgue. The nightly terrifying sounds. Norval’s discovery and the unveiling of the entire mystery. The motel-happening. It just keeps going on. Fortunately, I love an absurd story now and then.
Elijah Wood is simply magnificent as the extroverted and fairly arrogant Norval. Someone who doesn’t realize what a dire situation he’s going to find himself in. And also doesn’t know that his entire life story will be shaken thoroughly. That’s how the viewer will feel as well. Shaken up. During the first part of the movie, you wonder which direction the story will go. But once the plot reveals and the story accelerates, both in terms of tempo and frantic action, hold on tight because it’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride. And it’s worth it. “Come to Daddy” is a quirky, somewhat strange thriller with very aggressive scenes and full of insanity. Revealing too much isn’t recommended. Best to start watching this movie without knowing too much, such that the experience will be decidedly surprising. Recommended.