FrightFest 2019: Come to Daddy
Director: Ant Timpson
Writer: Toby Harvard
Starring: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan
Come to Daddy begins with Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) arriving at his father’s seaside home for an awkward reunion with said father (Stephen McHattie) who walked out on Norval and his mother 30 years ago. The tension is palpable between Norval and his father, as it’s clear daddy is a man’s man and he despises Norval’s effeminate hipster clothing and his unassertive manner. When things finally boil over between the two of them, daddy comes at Norval with a meat cleaver...and then keels over from a heart attack. And that’s just the beginning, many unexpected and hilarious twists and turns follow. Written by Toby Harvard (The Greasy Strangler), Come to Daddy is delightfully original and unexpected, continually subverting expectations and finding humor in surprising places. This is assured and impressive debut from director Ant Timpson. Initial Reactions C. Recently I’ve dealt with a lot of stuff that sounds amazing on paper but just doesn’t live up to it’s synopsis, Come to Daddy is the opposite. The initial way it’s presented sounds like a dark comedy about a son connecting with his absent father but that doesn’t do justice for what is presented on screen. It’s a movie that knows exactly what it is and yet doesn’t fit a label. It has so many twists and turns with some leading nowhere and yet, you don’t feel cheated. Wood plays a character-type we feel we’ve seen him do before and yet it’s different, arguably with the exception of Maniac, it’s his strongest work. Every character has a moment where they get to steal the show and due to the professionalism of this cast it works seamlessly. For me personally, I wish I could have been a part of the process for Come to Daddy. It was refreshing. You get a sense that there is such a unique and pure artistic voice telling this story that nobody else could do. This is Ant Timpson and Toby Harvard’s movie. And especially in a time when everyone wants to look back to the 80s for their nostalgia-based and avoid the dreaded cell phone dilemma, this movie proves that theory wrong. If you’re smart and talented you shouldn’t have to rely on a gimmick and fanboy references to make an amazing thriller. J. This is one of those films that you should not read anything about prior to seeing it. Hell, don’t even watch a goddamn trailer for this weirdo fuckin’ thing! Elijah Wood is an amazing actor, we all know this, but here (looking like a fuckin’ weirdo) he rules the screen in this extremely odd film. The script is fuckin’ magnificent and has so many twists and turns and false leads that if you try and tell me you know where it’s going to go, I would have no problem calling you a liar. It works a lot of genres into itself and pulls it all off which is a fuckin’ godsend. Thriller, supernatural horror, odd ball comedy, black comedy, it’s all in there somewhere and I couldn’t have loved it more. Get yourself a stiff drink and relish in this mother fucker cuz this is the one of the best of Fright Fest without question. K. I absolutely loved this film. It’s easily one of the best of Fright Fest thus far. The performances all around are fantastic, Elijah Wood plays the cowardly hipster man-child Norval to a T, Stephen McHattie sinks his teeth into the role of abusive estranged daddy like no other, even down to the supporting cast, Martin Donovan, Madeleine Sami, Michael Smiley, and Garfield Wilson, who steals his one scene as cop. This could have been a by-the-numbers indie drama that just took the premise of estranged father and son reuniting and stretched it too thin. But thankfully Harvard spirals the narrative off in another direction and continues taking unpredictable turns along the way. I had no idea where this was going through the majority of it and it made for a hilarious and enjoyable ride.
Response C. I will echo what Josh said about watching this movie with as little knowledge as possible because it is a wild ride that is best enjoyed going in blind. It’s a movie with thrills, laughs, beauty, heart, philosophy, and wicked fun. In a time where everyone wants to show how serious and “artistic” they can be, it was a breath of fresh air to see such a unique vision come to life from a person that also remembered to let us enjoy ourselves too. J. Seriously, this is a must see. As I look back at it, I think one of my favorite things about it is the script switching genres like it’s nothing and how funny it is when it happens but also how smart. We aren’t reviewing everything out of Fright Fest but this is going to be one everyone is talking about. K. The more I think about this film, the more it stands out as the best of the Fright Fest films we’ve reviewed. Due in large part to the incredible and wholly unpredictable script by Toby Harvard. It really hammers home my issue with most of the other films: they didn’t have great stories to start with and thus their films were competently shot, but mostly lifeless. And Come to Daddy is the opposite, it could’ve been less polished and gotten away with it because the story compels you to keep watching. Bloodhound’s average score: 5 out of 5