Elijah Wood plays Norval Greenwood, a man who has just received a letter from his estranged father asking him to come visit. Abandoned at a young age having only his mother to raise him, it seems the life without his father was misguided at best, leaving emotional and even physical scars. With hopes of closure we watch as he treks across the wooded and rugged coast of the pacific northwest eventually finding his fathers secluded cabin of sorts.
The reunion is not exactly everything he had hoped, when Gordon (Stephen McHattie) answers the door he seems a bit surprised, if not even annoyed. This is when the scales begin to tip into the direction of the weird. It is a good weird, not off putting or uncomfortable, merely intriguing. Things grow tense as the two of them begin to get to know his each other, aside from Gordons obvious lack of warmth there is a combativeness to their conversations. Norval is trying hard to impress his father and make a connection, but at every turn he is either being made fun of or hit with patronizing comments. One night at dinner, Norval confides in his father that he struggled with alcohol dependance and even tried to kill himself, this revelation was met with Gordon antagonistically waving his wine around, asking if it hard to resist. Their interactions come to a head and that is all I will say about it. Do yourself a favor and watch the story unfold, and boy does it unfold.
Fitting this film into a genre is difficult, part psychological thriller, part horror, and darkly hilarious all the way through. As the story moves on, Norval needs to make progressively harder decisions, starting with overcoming his fear and investigating a persistent loud noise and eventually dealing with a lot of blood and plastic wrap. The gleefulness in which the film embraces its insane story and gory elements is contagious and left me smiling most of the film.
The supporting cast of Michael Smiley and Martin Donovan mix perfectly with Wood, adding to the horror and humor. Smiley specifically adds a certain gusto with his performance that translates perfectly into first time director Ant Timpson’s story.
Ant Timpson and screenwriter Toby Harvard are no strangers to gore or throw back B-movie schlock, having both either produced or help write films like The ABCs of Death 1 and 2 and The Greasy Strangler. It is a welcome and fitting next step for Ant to step into the directors chair, he proves he has a knack and a vision for the grotesque The way in which fear and comedy are seamlessly blended through visual storytelling is hard to pull off without leaning too far one direction, Come to Daddy delivers the goods.