The Movie Waffler FrightFest 2019 Review - COME TO DADDY | The Movie Waffler

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FrightFest 2019 Review - COME TO DADDY

come to daddy review
A man reconnects with his estranged father after a 30 year absence, but something just doesn't seem quite right with him.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Ant Timpson

Starring: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Garfield Wilson, Madeleine Sami, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley

come to daddy poster


What a great example Elijah Wood is. After presumably making enough money off The Lord of the Rings to ensure he'll never have to work again, Wood has since devoted himself to tirelessly promoting the genre he loves - horror. Through his production company, SpectreVision, and by appearing in movies by debut filmmakers whom he recognises talent within, Wood has been responsible for numerous low-budget genre movies seeing the light of day. He's also not afraid to take roles that portray him in a far from positive light, such as Come to Daddy's protagonist Norval, a 35-year-old nebbish who has spent his life living in comfort in Bel-Air, courtesy of the father he hasn't seen in 30 years.


come to daddy review

When Norval receives a letter from his old man wishing to reconnect, he journeys to his father's home, located on the side of a cliff top and resembling, in Norval's words, "a flying saucer." Trouble is, Dad (Canadian screen legend Stephen McHattie) now doesn't seem too happy to have Norval around. The rugged father and soft son couldn't be more different, with the former needling his offspring at every turn, growing increasingly aggressive as he downs copious amounts of booze. A recovering alcoholic himself, Norval theorises that his father sent the letter while inebriated, and only a sense of familial obligation prevents him from walking away from the toxic environment he's arrived in. But the more he sticks around, the more he begins to feel he may be in physical danger.


come to daddy review

Low budget filmmaking courses will reductively advise you to set your movie in a single location with a limited cast of characters. It's an edict writer/director Ant Timpson and co-writer Toby Harvard stick to successfully for at least half of their movie. Before a midpoint twist, Come to Daddy is a compelling two-hander, composed of an intriguing and tense standoff between two very different male generational stereotypes, the craggy, self-made boomer and the entitled millenial. A character actor whose career is composed largely of minor supporting roles, McHattie hasn't been afforded a role as juicy as this since 2008's Pontypool, and his uniquely malevolent qualities are given a full workout here.


come to daddy review

It's after that midpoint twist, which I won't elaborate on here, that Timpson's movie branches out, to its detriment. A lid is both literally and metaphorically lifted on the confined, pressure cooker atmosphere the movie has thus far built up, and Come to Daddy takes a leftfield turn into Sam Raimi-esque splatstick comedy. A cartoonish Irish villain played by the always watchable Michael Smiley is a novelty that soon wears thin, and a suspenseful race-against-time setup is discarded for a gory climax. After hooking us in with its poisonous father-son dynamic, Come to Daddy opts for a level of zaniness that descends into mere silliness.

Come to Daddy will be released on DVD/VOD in 2020.


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