Review by Sean Boelman
An ambitious new horror-comedy serving as the feature debut of director Ant Timpson, Come to Daddy will almost certainly satisfy any genre fan’s craving for the zany, even if it doesn’t offer much more than aggressive weirdness. Some very good moments make this film worth watching, but ultimately, the narrative begins to lose its luster part of the way through.
The movie follows a man who travels to visit his estranged father in a remote cabin to reconnect, only to find out that his father may not be who he thinks he is. Although this premise is quite strong, and the beginning of the film mostly lives up to this potential, when the twists start to come, it starts to feel underwhelming.
Clocking in at just over an hour and thirty minutes, the movie admittedly does move pretty quickly, but that is also one of the film’s biggest issues. While the second half of the movie does double down on the lunacy, it also feels significantly rushed compared to the first half, which was very entertaining and created sustained tension.
The first half of the film does a very good job of balancing the suspense of the mystery and the humor of the wackiness, however, once the big reveal occurs, the suspense goes out the window, and along with it, much of the audience’s interest. Though there are still some good moments (either shocking or hilarious), they pack much less of a punch than the beginning.
Part of what is keeping the movie held back is that the character development is lackluster. Although it is obvious what the protagonist’s arc is supposed to be, he is just so oddly-written that it becomes difficult to find him sympathetic or compelling. In this way, the film’s quirkiness ends up working against the narrative.
That said, Elijah Wood does give an enjoyably weird performance as the protagonist. Wood is obviously having quite a bit of fun in his role, and while this alone does not accommodate for the narrative deficiencies of the movie, it does make it a lot more fun to watch. Stephen McHattie is also amusingly over-the-top in his supporting role.
On a technical level, Timpson certainly has a command over his craft, so it will be exciting to see what he can do when he gets a hold of a more polished script. The cinematography and production design are both very off-kilter, giving the film a unique visual style and tone to go along with the off-puttingly idiosyncratic script.
Come to Daddy has a wildly intriguing premise and a committed lead performance, but it never quite comes together into something fully satisfying. Those who are not hardcore fans of midnight movies are likely best staying away, as this movie is a bit too weird to be effective.
Come to Daddy is now available on VOD.
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