Come to Daddy Movie Review

Written by Ilan Sheady

Released by Firefly Films


Directed by Ant Timpson
Written by Toby Harvard and Ant Timpson
2019, 93 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest UK Premiere on 22nd August 2019

Elijah Wood as Norval Greenwood
Stephen McHattie as Gordon
Garfield Wilson as Ronald Plum
Madeleine Sami as Gladys
Martin Donovan as Brian
Michael Smiley as Jethro


There was a time when it was assumed that once youʼve been Frodo in the biggest blockbuster franchise of all time of all time you could never be seen as anything else. Everyone would remember you for being a hobbit and being cast in any other role would instantly take you out of the illusion. However, time and time again Elijah Wood has shown he can bring to life some of the most unique and memorable characters in and around the horror genre stretching back from his terrifying inclusion in Sin City, through his perfect reinterpretation in Maniac and now he steps out onto the screen as millennial hipster Norval in one of the most surprisingly hypnotic horror films of the year.

Norval (Elijah Wood) arrives at an isolated beach paradise to connect with his estranged father who walked out on him and his mother before he was born. Very quickly it becomes clear that this bonding experience between two very different people is a lot less heart-warming than it should be. Truth be told, the less said about Come to Daddy the better, making it a very difficult movie to review without spoilers. Going in blind is an integral part of the experience as information is deliberately drip fed from characters throughout the film.

come to daddy 01 come to daddy 02

From the moment Stephen McHattie (Pontypool, Rabid) opens the door, the conversations are stiflingly uncomfortable but addictively enthralling. You very much feel for Norval in his sad and empty lifestyle as a recovering alcoholic with a sick mother and at least one failed suicide under his belt. Desperately desiring his father's approval and validation, his only hope is in a fake and heavily rehearsed script that fails to deliver the reactions heʼd hoped.

McHattie however, is excellently cast as a reclusive drunk with a questionable past and an intimidating air. In the most obscure pop culture comparison I could muster, his personality and lifestyle resembles a much darker and less romanticised version of Kurt Russellʼs Captain Ron while Elijah perfectly slides into the role of the substantially less adventurous or masculine Martin Short.

Not since Inglorious Basterds has a scene, where two people just sit and talk to each other, felt so captivating and, as much as the brilliant script should be celebrated, itʼs the jarring juxtaposition between Wood and McHattie that keeps you from looking away.

come to daddy 03 come to daddy 04

Should these two phenomenal fan-favourite actors not be enough to entice you, then cult movie enthusiasts will be equally enthused to see who else makes a memorable appearance and while Iʼd love to go into more detail it would greatly ruin the surprise into which direction the plot leads. Regardless it should be said that while Come To Daddy feels grounded in reality and any threat or fear feels genuine, the few characters we meet up with are highly quirky and Fargo-esque in nature. Characters have extreme personalities with almost no rhyme or reason, but at the same time feel totally acceptable within the filmʼs universe.

If there was anything to complain about Iʼd say this was a bit of a boys' club with the men playing thoroughly unique personas while the two women cast (Madeleine Sami and Ona Grauer) are the 'straight men' of the story. This isnʼt without justification, though, as Come To Daddy is a story of a son reconnecting with his dad and what makes a man a man. Itʼs a very intimate and moving tale seasoned with tense horror, violence and blood.

So without giving anything away Iʼm happy to say Ant Timpsonʼs Come to Daddy is ‘Captain Ron meets Fargoʼ. And that's with 100% conviction that it will never get printed on the Blu-ray cover.


Movie: 4.5 Star Rating Cover

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