A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father.
Release Date: 2019 | Runtime: 1hr 36min | Genre: Thriller | Source: Bought | Starred Review
Come to Daddy Review
Elijah Wood has such a fascinating career. He started with standard kid fare like Flipper and North. Then he made the Lord of the Rings movies and acquired his “fuck you money.” Now Elijah Wood does whatever the hell he wants. This has led to some interesting projects where he has done everything from fight zombies in an elementary school to play the piano so that John Cusack doesn’t shoot him. Come to Daddy is another solid entry to his increasingly bananas filmography.
Wood plays Norval, a man with an amazing name, an amazing haircut and an amazing moustache. Go Google an image of the character and come back before proceeding. See what I mean? Anyway, Norval receives a letter from his estranged father to come and see him so he goes out to his dad’s remote cabin to reconnect with him. Things don’t get off to a very good start. His father seems to not only be confused about why Norval is there, but actively angry about it. He antagonizes Norval at every possible opportunity, even going as far as to taunt him with wine when he learns Norval is a recovering alcoholic. Those are all the plot details I will divulge because I highly recommend going into this one knowing as little as I did.
Come to Daddy has a very strong first half. The underlying mystery of the Dad’s behaviour and his aggression towards Norval makes for some truly tense scenes. The early minutes showing Norval’s journey and just how isolated this cabin is makes it clear that there is nowhere for him to go. His phone is “accidentally” broken early on so he is on his own with what appears to be his very unstable father. Any attempts to connect with each other fail and the aggression only grows and grows. Stephen McHattie is great as his dad, jumping seamlessly between subtle contempt and over the top rage.
This is a tough one to get into because I don’t want to give anything away, but I can say that the back half of the movie can’t match what comes before it. Once the movie reveals its hand and gives you more insight into what is happening, I was personally a little disappointed. It does such a great job of building suspense and then it fizzles out. It felt like a roller coaster that finally got to the top of the crest and instead of plummeting you back down, it immediately stopped and you were told to get off the ride.
While the mid-point reveal is disappointing, it did leave me in a place where I had no idea where the movie could possibly go for the next 45 minutes. So, I guess more accurately, it’s a roller coaster that gets to the top and then all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a pie fight. You’re bummed there’s no roller coaster, you’re confused about what the hell is happening, but hey this is pretty cool too so why not see where it goes?
Come to Daddy’s suspenseful first half gives way to a tonal shift into black comedy in the latter half that isn’t as strong as what came before it, but as a whole it makes for a strange and entertaining ride. It’s also another impressive effort from Wood who continues his goal to take on unique and unexpected projects. I will continue to follow that man in whatever strange directions he insists on taking me.