Norval Greenwood hasn’t seen his dad Gordon in decades. One day, much to his surprise, he receives a letter asking for a father/son reunion. Norval acquiesces and travels to Gordon’s remote house. Soon, things go weird. Gordon seems to have little interest in Norval, nor does he have any recollection of contacting him. Norval passes it off as a letter written during a drunken night, but as things get menacing, it’s apparent that something else is going on.
Elijah Wood has taken a dive into a lot of weird movies lately – not least as a producer for the can do no wrong SpectreVision company – yet Come to Daddy is almost shockingly middle of the road. The only out of the ordinary part of the film is Norval’s hair and mustache, which, seriously, bravo Elijah. It takes guts to sport anything like this.
The film, though? It’s a fairly straightforward thriller, albeit a well-made one. The cast commits one hundred and ten percent to their roles, and Stephen McHattie (who I mainly know from his memorable turn as Elaine’s psychiatrist in Seinfeld) portrays a fine villain.
There’s nothing downright wrong with the movie but Come to Daddy colors a bit too neatly within the lines for my liking. McHattie pushes his character as far as he can, but he never gets to go as all-out as he clearly is capable of. He makes the best of the more subtle scenes, like his reaction to Norval’s lie of being friends with Elton John. Pay particular attention to his poker face – if you remember the aforementioned Seinfeld episodes, you should know what to expect.
To the movie’s credit, it turns tense when things start spiraling out of control. The cat-and-mouse chase is memorable, and Come to Daddy is generally a well-executed film under the direction of Ant Timpson. It just lacks that little oomph of weird it deserves.
Give it a watch, though. In these SARS-CoV-2 days, it serves as good escapism.
Letterboxd summary: After receiving a cryptic letter from his estranged father, Norval travels to his dad’s oceanfront home for what he hopes will be a positive experience. If only he’d known the dark truth about his old man beforehand.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||3/6|