Current Issue #488

Film Review:
Come To Daddy

New Zealander Ant Timpson’s directorial debut is an awkward and sometimes silly black-comedy-cum-horror-pic that still manages to feel surprisingly unsavoury much of the time. 

A successful producer (he was behind those ABCs Of Death anthologies, Deathgasm, The Greasy Strangler and more), Timpson called in many favours and pals for this one, and the result is worth watching for the increasingly over-the-top performances by Elijah ‘I Am Not Frodo!’ Wood and grizzled, grisly character actor/heavy Stephen McHattie.

The privileged, somewhat gormless Norval Greenwood (an oddly-coiffed Elijah) arrives at the Oregonian (actually Canadian) lakeside home of his Dad after receiving a letter asking him to come and visit. Norval hasn’t seen his beyond-alienated father since he was five, and when Gordon (McHattie) answers the door the mind games and unease begin almost immediately, with both of them demonstrating a willingness to lie. A lot.

Norval is a wannabe-musician who still lives with his Mum in Beverly Hills, and a disturbingly funny sequence concerns whether or not he’s genuinely good friends with no less than Elton John. Things then take an even darker turn as Gordon grows more unpredictable and aggressive, and soon the plot has veered off into several unexpected directions that, of course, shouldn’t be properly discussed here.

Timpson has stated that the initial idea for his first film in the top job (fashioned into a screenplay by Toby Harvard) came to him during his lengthy and creepy experiences after the death of his own father, and a week spent with an open coffin and a procession of strangers he’d never met all lamenting a man he didn’t seem to know. And you can’t help but morbidly wonder what this filmmaker’s old Dad would have thought of the movie he inspired – the last third of which goes seriously bonkers.

Reviewer Rating

Come To Daddy (MA) is available on video on demand via Umbrella Entertainment, Google Play, iTunes, Fetch and Telstra, as well as Foxtel On Demand from April 15

DM Bradley

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