Family reunions are often fraught with tension. Old wounds are opened by familiarity bred by contempt but few reconciliations have turned as dark and twisted as the father and son get together in Elijah Wood’s new thriller “Come to Daddy.”
Wood is Norval, a self-described music industry big deal, raised by his single mother in Beverly Hills. After receiving a letter from his estranged father requesting a face-to-face meeting, he makes the trip to a remote California home to meet a man he barely knows. He’s met by Brian (Stephen McHattie), a flinty, drunken older man with a sharp tongue. When Brian tries to impress the older man by dropping Elton John’s name, Brian calls him out in an embarrassing and cruel way. The situation doesn’t improve with the introduction of alcohol and soon the situation becomes dangerous.
That’s it! No spoilers here. Trust me when I say that unless your family gatherings include torture and excrement dripped shivs, you haven’t experienced a father and son situation quite like this before.
Darkly humorous and disquieting, “Come to Daddy” is a gonzo thriller that revels in the off-kilter nature of the escalating intrigue of the story. As the running time clicks through to the end credits the stakes for Noval surge in increasingly outrageous ways. It’s all good, gory fun that plays up the absurdity of the situation while still maintaining the complexity of the father-son relationship. It’s a mish mash of revenge, squeamish violence and surreal family drama that should please midnight madness fans but leave others reaching for a barf bag.