Elijah Wood (“Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (TV)”, “The Last Witch Hunter”) has a history of the strange and macabre, though it’s been a while since he’s been involved, but I’m thrilled to say he’s back to his oddball best.
Come To Daddy, based on an idea from director Ant Timpson (“Crab Boy (Short)”), was written by Toby Harvard (“The Greasy Strangler”, “Crabs (Short)”), and is filled with a wonderful black humour, as dark as the night, and a great performance from Wood.
Norval Greenwood (Wood) is a man in his thirties who, at the bequest of his estranged father Gordon, Stephen McHattie (“Death Wish”, “Mother!”), who wrote him a letter requesting his presence, travels from Beverly Hills to a wooded, coastal area (the exact location goes unmentioned), in the vain hope of re-connecting.
Upon arrival, he’s met by his grizzly father, who appears to take an instant dislike to his young son, and won’t talk about the letter he sent, Norval remains in the dark as to why his father wanted him there.
The two have a strained relationship which comes to a head when Norval demands to be told why Gordon wanted him there. Gordon, drunk as usual, picks up a cleaver and begins attacking his son, but suddenly, luckily for Norval, he has a heart attack before he can strike and drops down dead.
Due to floods at the local coroner’s office, Gordon must remain in the home with his son until further arrangements can be made. Norval, who has a history of alcoholism and an attempted suicide under his belt, is spooked by the body and also by the loud clanging noises that ring out from the house at night.
The noises and body drive Norval back to the drink and one night whilst drunk, he finally summons the courage to actually investigate where these noises are coming from and finds a basement. Not just that, he finds a man down there, chained up, bloody. Who is this man? Who is the strange hippy Jethro, Michael Smiley (“Free Fire”, “The Lobster”), who also turns up?
Harvard and Timpson weave a darkly funny story with Norval as clueless as we are. Wood plays our protagonist beautifully, innocent, scared, but willing to do whatever it takes when the time arises.
McHattie is like a wizened, grizzly old bear; drinking, stressed, calling his sons bluff when he claims to be associated with Elton John. It’s the perfect antithetical to Wood’s quiet, frightened persona.
There’s a brief, surreal turn for Garfield Wilson (“The Man In The High Castle (TV)”, “Altered Carbon (TV)”), as the police officer who visits Norval after his fathers passing. He has a theory that bad-guys have “raisin eyes”, but he tells Norval he doesn’t, but his father did.
Come To Daddy isn’t ever going to be a huge smash hit film I don’t think, which is a shame, but it must be destined to be the cult smash of the year.
With great performances, darkly comedic undertones throughout and a beautiful vista, Come To Daddy is one to watch when you get the chance.
Signature Entertainment presents Come to Daddy at The Prince Charles Cinema 17th & 20th February. Digital HD from 21st February and DVD & Blu-ray March 2nd