Fantastic Fest 2019: ‘Come to Daddy’ is a Quirky and Violent Blend of Giggles and Gore [Review]
The first thing you are likely going to notice heading into Ant Timpson’s directorial debut is Elijah Wood in the leading role. He plays Norval, a hipster millennial who responds to a letter from his long-absent father by arriving on his doorstep unannounced. He’s ready to make up for lost time with his dad and, hopefully, gain some insight as to why his father abandoned him at such an early age. Unfortunately for Norval, his father isn’t exactly the man he imagined, and his erratic behavior lends itself to far more questions than answers.
Wood is no stranger to genre films. In fact, his production company, SpectreVision, is behind recent standouts such as Mandy, Color Out of Space, and of course, The Greasy Strangler. Tonally, Come to Daddy is more along the lines of the latter thanks to a script from Greasy Strangler co-writer, Toby Harvard. Dialog exchanges are often gloriously absurd and long-winded while we navigate through the mystery of Norval’s father and the secrets that reside within his beachside bachelor abode. But no matter how strange you may expect Come to Daddy to get, I imagine that Timpson and Harvard will surpass that expectation by a hefty margin. This is one weird and wild slice of cinema, and you won’t want to miss it.
But beneath all of the insanity and awkward interactions lies a grounded concept that is surprisingly heartfelt. Growing up without a father can have impacts on the way one navigates adulthood. In the case of Norval, these impacts are relatively obvious. He has almost zero sense of masculinity or machismo, but ultimately, none of that matters. While Norval is anything but the ideal candidate for a “hero,” he pounds, stabs, slices, and dices all the way to the answers he so desperately desires through some of the most shocking and primal death sequences I’ve seen. Seriously—it gets dark.
After dozens of impressive production credits to his name, Ant Timpson arrives on the scene with an absurdly entertaining feature debut. If you’re looking for something both violent and bizarre, look no further than Come to Daddy.
Come to Daddy screened at the 2019 Fantastic Fest. No official release date has been announced. Stay tuned.