Cast: Elijah Wood, Martin Donovan, Stephen McHattie, Michael Smiley
Director: Ant Timpson
What is it about January that makes studios release all of their crazy ideas, but it seems like January is a graveyard for both mediocre major releases and experimental and abstract movies. Come to Daddy is bizarre, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s a brilliant blend of absurd humor and timely gore that allows it to stand out in its genre. It’s a bit tough to categorize a movie like Come to Daddy since it doesn’t quite conform to any one group, but with Wood’s absurd performance guiding the film, Come to Daddy makes the most of its 93 minute runtime and provides quality laughs along the way.
The film follows Norval (Wood), a man in his 30s who lives a rich, privileged life in a neighborhood in Southern California. When his estranged father invites him to his remote cabin in rural Oregon, Norval attends with the intention of finally getting to meet and know his father. While this seems like a very straightforward visit, Norval soon enters an environment of violence and terror that he could never imagine and must go to great lengths to get out of this position safely. When you’re watching a movie like Come to Daddy, there’s a specific line that needs to be toed between hilarious absurdity and unnatural weirdness, and this movie does a great job of being on the right side of that discussion. The comedy is dark, unsettling, and uncomfortable, but it fits given the circumstances that Norval finds himself in. There are points in the movie where you may think to yourself, “I have no idea what’s going on,” but that matches the tone of the environment incredibly well. Even if it gets a little abstract for its own good at times, it never goes too far overboard and keeps the audience exactly where they should be. Looking at Wood’s performance, this isn’t exactly something that can compare to Lord of the Rings, but it has a certain charm that works for a movie like this where the budget and expectations aren’t the highest in the world. Come to Daddy makes the most of its quick 93 minute runtime by keeping audiences captivated the entire and keeping us interested and entertained the entire time. I don’t know if Come to Daddy is the type of movie that viewers will actively seek out, but if you like a movie with a nice balance of thrills and laughs, then Come to Daddy will be a pleasant surprise for you. It won’t be something that breaks any box office records anytime soon, but it’s more than worthy of a stream and I honestly wish this movie had gotten a wider theatrical release. It seems to have a relatively niche target audience, but those in that demographic will probably have a blast traversing through the unique and interesting environment of Come to Daddy. I surely wasn’t expecting what I ended up watching, but ultimately I’m glad I did.
Overall, Wood has mostly stayed out of the spotlight for the last few years, and even though Come to Daddy won’t bring him back into it, it shows he still has the talent to deliver in whatever format he chooses. If you’re looking for an early-year release that’s zany enough to stand out but balanced enough to keep every element in check, then Come to Daddy will give you what you need. Be prepared to laugh for most of the runtime and be thrilled with what’s coming up next, because there aren’t too many movies that can master this blend quite like Come to Daddy does.
Overall Score: 7.5/10