Our favorite hobbit, Elijah Wood is an unabashed massive horror fan, as evidenced yet again in his unique new film Come to Daddy, a twisted story about a man reuniting with his father for the first time in 30 years, since he was five years old, but all that time can play tricks on you, and things are not what they seem.
The opening credits follows Wood’s Norval, a party promoter/DJ who lives with his mom in a rich Beverly Hills neighborhood, as he makes a seemingly endless walk from the road through the woods to his dad’s secluded cabin overlooking a beach. The old man who opens the door, played brilliantly by Stephen McHattie, barely recognizes Norval, but soon enough gives him a big hug and welcomes him inside.
What happens next proceeds into what appears is going to be a meditation on lost time with loved ones, regret, and death, but about midway trough the 95-minute runtime, the film takes a drastic shift in tone with an awesome reveal that I definitely did not see coming. This twist is not the first nor the last that Daddy has in store, but it’s the one that changes everything that we’ve seen thus far in the film.
I won’t go into detail about what happens next, because you really should go into this one as blind and spoiler-free as possible, as it will make the second half of the film all that much better. The twists that come each serve to deepen the meaning of the earlier scenes, while pushing poor Norval, already a recovering alcoholic who attempted suicide a few years ago, toward the brink of madness.
It doesn’t spoil anything to say that Norval’s dad was into some very shady business with some very dangerous people, and his past is coming back to haunt him, all of which his son was unaware of.
Elijah Wood has always been a remarkable actor, even in his earliest roles as a child, and now that he is at a place in his career where he can do whatever he wants, he fully throws his considerable talents behind even the weirdest and most unexpected projects, of which this is certainly one. His performance as Norval is layered, both funny and heartbreaking at once, and there’s never a false note.
While the film itself more than earns its slow buildup with a rewarding final act, the Blu-ray sadly includes no bonus features, aside from a few trailers for other movies. I long for the days when a feature length director commentary was pretty much standard for every home video release, but the lack of one is unfortunately the new norm these days.
With equal parts of blood and heart, Daddy delivers a wild and violent finale in which Norval learns the truth about his past and faces off against the demons that come with it.
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