*. Not much to say here, though I don’t mean that Come to Daddy is a bad movie or not worth checking out. It’s quirky and decently put forward. But “quirky” has come to seem less quirky in the crowded field of horror-action-comedy these days. If this movie had come out in the 1970s it might be regarded today as a cult favourite, but today it seems like a typical production of the zeitgeist. If they’d added some barely-remembered rock song from the ’80s they would have assembled all the essential ingredients.
*. Elijah Wood plays Norval, a young man with a strange caterpillar moustache and a very, very strange bowl haircut (he works in the music industry in Los Angeles, you see) who is summoned by his estranged father, a reclusive figure he has never known, for a visit to the father’s fashionable, and isolated, coastal chateau. Norval shows up and is met by a weird old alcoholic crank played by Stephen McHattie. McHattie is always fun to watch, but he’s not with us for long and soon Norval is discovering that things are not what they seem.
*. I can’t say much more, as there’s a big median break in the plot that actually sends things spinning in a not entirely predictable new direction. So full credit there. Unfortunately, once we start going off in this new direction the movie unravels in a mostly formulaic way without ever picking up speed. It remains interesting, in that quirky way I mentioned, but at the same time never feels as fresh as you’d imagine.
*. Billed as a horror comedy it’s neither scary nor funny, but it gets by on its X factor. The violence is quick and nasty, particularly the scenes involving various improvised stabbing weapons like a pen, a roasting fork, and a bill spindle. The sexual tension is enjoyable, especially in the unconventional but touching desire Norval feels for an attractive coroner. There’s a message about father-son bonding that thankfully only gets introduced as an afterthought. So there’s stuff here to enjoy, if not be enthusiastic about. A good little movie in the genre of dark quirk, but it has to be said that this is a genre now so it’s not as challenging as it wants to be.