Sometimes when I really love something, it takes me a while to write about it coherently, instead of presenting a fucked-up manifesto of notes, lists, and ramblings on why something is so great. Open up any random notebook in my house, and you’ll probably find a scribbled list of reasons why “Twin Peak’s” Bobby Briggs is superior to “My So-Called Life’s” Jordan Catalano. I am very passionate about that subject and will forever think Jordan Catalano and his puka shell necklace suck. I am mentioning this because there is a film I’ve wanted to write about since I saw it nearly a month ago. I am obsessed with it. Whether or not you know me, if you’ve been in a 50-foot vicinity of me, I’ve talked to you about it. If I’ve interviewed you recently on a red carpet or have been a passenger in your Lyft, there’s a 90% chance I’ve told you to see this movie. This is not only my favorite film I saw at Beyond Fest but one of my favorite movies I’ve seen in years. The film is “Come to Daddy,” and I love it.
I am so glad there is not a lengthy trailer or too many pictures of this film online. Currently, there is one trailer that consists of a small clip. This is a movie that I hope people go into knowing as little as possible and are delighted by the genius of it all. Beyond Fest ran from Sept. 25-Oct. 8 this year, and had an excellent slate of films. I went through the screening schedule and got tickets to the films I wanted to see, and “Come to Daddy” was definitely on that list. I knew it had screened at Fantastic Fest. I knew Ant Timpson and Toby Harvard made the film and that Elijah Wood was in it. I knew it had to do with a son going to see his estranged father and there was a still of Elijah Wood from the film holding a dumbbell in a closet bathed in a reddish light with a turquoise jug behind him. I liked that picture a lot. Basically, that’s the extent of what I knew about “Come to Daddy.” I was excited to see it, as I was many films at Beyond Fest, and like most films I see I didn’t go in with any preconceived notions or expectations. I rarely watch a trailer or read a review before I see a film. I’ll say this..I was not prepared to be completely enamored by a film that night. From beginning to end, I was entranced with “Come to Daddy.” The fact that this film exists makes my heart happy.
I woke up the next morning and immediately wanted to rewatch it. I was so pissed off and frustrated that I couldn’t see it again, yet “Rambo: Last Blood” was playing at least 30 theaters in the greater Los Angeles area. I still find it insulting that I could see Rambo in every county, but not “Come to Daddy.” Now I have a hardcore grudge against Sylvester Stallone. All I want is for “Come to Daddy” to be released so I can force everyone I know to see it and talk about it with me. And then eventually grow to dislike me when I refuse to stop talking about it. For the love of God Saban Films, please release it soon!
“Come to Daddy” is the directorial debut of celebrated producer Ant Timpson (Turbo Kid, Deathgasm). The initial idea came from Timpson and then was masterfully written by Toby Harvard (The Greasy Strangler). I’m obsessed with the dialogue in the film. Part of the beauty of “Come to Daddy” is that it eases effortlessly between genres. It is intensely macabre, cartoonishly gory, but it’s also insanely hilarious and sweetly emotional and tender. “Come to Daddy” is about a man in his thirties named Norval (Elijah Wood) who goes to see his long-lost father Gordon (Stephen McHattie) in his remote home. That’s really all you should know about the plot. Within the beautiful insanity & mania of “Come to Daddy,” the core of this screwed up dynamic between Norval and Gordon is actually very relatable and authentic. I cannot imagine anyone but Elijah Wood playing Norval. There is something in his gaze that perfectly captures the nuances of the character, and Stephen McHattie is just so good as his father, Gordon. Michael Smiley appears in the film almost unrecognizable and is just incredible.
I am so tempted to write specifics on scenes and lines and why they resonate so much, but this film is way too magical to spoil. There’s so much mediocrity in film, music, people…so when you see the horror/family-drama/black comedy film of your dreams, it’s special. Thank you, Ant and Toby, for expanding the ranges of horror. “Come to Daddy” is genius and I genuinely hope both of them keep on creating for years and years and years on end.
“Come to Daddy” will screen next at the Morbido Film Festival in Mexico City, Oct. 30th- Nov. 3rd.