After the joys of Maniac, Elijah Wood once more stars in a film that for some, is destined for cult status glory. But is this father and son reunion horror/comedy all it cracks up to be?
You have to give credit to Elijah Wood, who has managed to leave the journey of the ring a distant memory and the once former hobbit is now delivering some quality performances in weird films that is finding much love among the horror crowd. Its been seven years since Wood came up with Maniac, a horror remake that has become one of the most cherished cult finds in recent years and now his latest, Come To Daddy is being whispered to be going down the same path!
Wood plays Norval, a troubled young man who turns up at the door of his estranged Dad Brian (Stephen McHattie), who he hasn’t seen for over thirty years, having received an invite for a reunion.
The opening is where the film shows its promise. The awkwardness and conversation between the two brings a much needed tension and you can’t be helped but be drawn into this tale! Brian, after a few drinks, becomes angry in which Norval, himself a recovering alcoholic, struggles with and the stand off involving a conversation regarding Elton John, is one of the best scenes of the film as it crackles with dark humour and sinister undertones.
Sadly, its when the film reveals its hand that it all begins to fall apart. We know something is coming between the two and there is a feeling the film will borrow heavily from the superior Creep franchise, but once the first twist – which is a shock-hits you, the film could go both ways.
Are we going to have a psychological breakdown in which we see Norval unravel before our very eyes? Without spoilers, because Come To Daddy is a film that you need to go into blind, offers up a plotline that is not to dissimilar to many we have seen before.
And that is the problem!
There is something quite fascinating about the opening and both Wood and McHattie crackle with energy, but once the second half hits, the film loses its momentum. The dark humour and unsettling tone is replaced with a crazy cartoon kind of violence and with it, we lose the edge that promised to make this film standout to be something special.
More characters are introduced as the film progresses and the gore escalates which will please the bloodhounds, but apart from a brilliant Michael Heseltine gag that had me roaring, Come To Daddy was more appealing in its quieter approach than the madcap zany antics which include a grotesque Pen scene that will startle a few.
For a direction debut, Ant Timpson shows more than enough promise to suggest a massive future ahead and while this will have its fans, for me, one twist too many and the path to silliness stops it from becoming a cult classic.
It may have its daddy issues, but Come To Daddy does more than enough to please, even if its own cleverness runs out of steam long before the bloody finale.
My fellow critic David S. Smith watched Come To Daddy at Frightfest in 2019. Here are his thoughts!