Elijah Wood sure knows how to pick ‘em.

Now firmly ensconced in the horror fraternity thanks to career-changing turns in the likes of Maniac, Open Windows and even Cooties, Wood is back again for more in this off-the-wall, gory opus that throws as much horror entertainment at the screen as it can in the hope that most sticks – which thankfully it does.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by the tone, as it comes courtesy of ‘The Greasy Strangler’ producer Ant Timpson (making his directorial debut), so you should know what you are letting yourself in for.

Safe to say this is one of those films that you just let wash over you – or ‘experience’ as some would have it – as to give too much away would not only spoil the myriad twists and turns, but also its pretty difficult to describe anyway.

In a nutshell, Wood plays Norval, a needy fantasist who turns up on the doorstep of his estranged father (who lives in the remotest house you can imagine), having received a letter from said ‘daddy’ offering a reconciliation after three decades of absence.

At first things seem fine, if strained and certainly awkward, but then things begin to turn very dark – and noises can be heard coming from the basement…

That is as far as I am going to go, as the pleasure I did get from Come To Daddy was muttering ‘WTF’ at the various plot shifts.

True, the film does try a bit too hard to be ‘wacky’ (even the opening shot of Norval and his attire set off ‘pretentious’ alarm bells) but it does deliver – especially on the grue front.

Wood is fine and there is solid support from the likes of Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley and Stephen McHattie, although their performances are slightly buried by the film’s hysterical tone.

In actual fact the film’s opening is pretty subtle, and the chills come from both father and son chipping away at the other’s ego, with Norval in particular forced to accept who he really is beneath the sheen and bluster.

But then things go south – and pretty exhausting – as Timpson dials up the chaos. Giving the prestigious opening slot for Frightfest, Come To Daddy certainly ticks the boxes, but it is unlikely to be anyone’s favourite of the festival.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: Come To Daddy
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle