Come to Daddy

Review: Come to Daddy

26 Feb 20

Strange, like a 'UFO from the 1960s'

The Geets:

Given the formulaic nature of most Horror and Horror-comedy genre ('Horromedy') this movie illuminates the bland scene with intrigue and Kiwi film ingenuity that makes it appreciable and acceptable to Kiwis. However, its unique taste in narrative and grotesquely strange depicts of events unfolding may be not so appealing to the general audience due to the lack of understanding Kiwi humour.

Timpson, nevertheless, crafts a beautifully strange film, filled with strange occurrences and misconstrued realities of events. It's as if we think the narrative will go in a certain path but it continually deviates as far away from the norm of filmography that we are left befuddled for all the right reasons. With the changing times it is only acceptable for movies in general to change as well, depicting as much deviation from the norms of reality as possible, all for the greater good of cinematography and creative uniqueness. As such, Timpson's creation stands out well above most uniquely strange movies, spiced with a certain level of dark humour that sticks with audience well after the credits have rolled.

Stephen McHattie out-performs any other actors in this movie, perfectly depicting the psychotic and unruly presence of Gordon, as the supposed estranged Father of Norval. His mannerisms, propensity to elevate suspense and disturbingly terrifying actions only elevate him to the stuff of nightmares. He is depicted as a 'day-and-night' alcoholic with complete lack of control over his life, including his behaviours and his emotions, which are definitely palpable and visually obscene in every scene of his. Additionally, his ability to oscillate from nuanced, slurred speeches (indicative of the psychological effects of alcoholism) to psychological manipulation to uncontained aggression is fearfully intriguing to watch and certainly places him in the spotlight.

Equally effective, on a different spectrum of character illustration, is the more identifiable and relatable Norval (Elijah Wood), who seeks to fill the void in his heart by rekindling the familial relationship with his estranged Father. Instead of expecting a hearty reunion, we see him continually questioning everything he thinks he knows about his Father whilst depicting his 'inner child' in front of his Father. From the unnecessary lying, to showing emotional vulnerabilities, his lack of personal growth is evident from his performance due to the lack of paternal support for most of his life. Wood intellectually demonstrates the character's emotional 'outcry' in the first half of the movie with his desperate attempts to reconnect with his Father, something that propels him into 'overdrive' as the movie progresses into unknown territory.

As the narrative takes a surprising turn into a bloodied second half, it is as his favourite book ('The Celestine Prophecy') suggests, that the narrator (Norval) will undergo a 'spiritual awakening' throughout this 'transitional period of his life' as he realises the truth. This is exactly what starts his maturity process, something that he struggled with without a paternal figure in his growing years, as he comes to terms with dealing with his demons and making tough decisions without a moral compass.

I found it really interesting how this film was strongly attuned to the sense of body language both in narrative and in visualisation. The various characters oftentimes show an inclination to physically illustrate how they feel, as well as make reference to the physicalities of other characters. From distinguishing 'kind eyes' from 'raisin eyes', to being overtly expositionary of one's emotional state, this movie deserves credit from bringing a type of sensibility to a largely 'superficial' genre.

This movie also helps to even the playing field by infusing violently gruesome horror with comedic brilliance, which allows it to achieve the unique Kiwi touch that it rightfully deserves. The Director's unique satirical way of creating a hugely comedic 'pay-out' from even the most gruesome and disturbing scenes is majestic and thought-provocative. The oscillations between these extreme ends of the genres helps generate an appreciation that enable the viewers to keep watching until the end.

Alternatively, this movie also succeeds in vividly capturing the pure essence of being 'lost in time', like a 'UFO from the 1960s', belonging to a forgotten era rather than being grounded in the modern era of technological absurdities. From the moment that his mobile phone is lost, the movie plunges into an inescapable world, immersed in alcoholic and drug-filled fantasies of the 'Flower Power era', a transitional state pertaining to changes in one's own philosophy of life. The contrasting imagery, overuse of red lighting, and isolation from society, all seek to propound horror through being completely vulnerable to strangers and the wilderness.

The Phads:

The immense character development and creation of unnerving, pulsating terror in the first half is disappointedly undermined by a rather 'bloodied' and meaningless second half. With a surprising turn of events, we find the protagonist desperately trying to survive in hostile territory, being confronted by dangerous criminals and doing whatever he must to achieve his goals. Although scoring high on gore and terror, the second half definitely suffers from the slower and uneven pace, which was contrasted by an even and progressively-paced first half. The change in pace can be boldly examined as a viewer, as I found myself snapped out of the hypnotic and hallucinatory effects of this movie and watching the second half completely in control of my senses. It seemed like this movie failed to keep me captivated by a lacklustre shift in tone and mood of the narrative.

Additionally, the satire and comic relief in the second half can also seem unbearable as I found myself addled by which direction the movie was ultimately going to go. Both the horror and the comedy were strong qualities of this movie, however, the fine balance between these both wasn't maintained and oftentimes infused together to create an intrusive experience for my mind. As such, the narrative also suffered in creating the right effect at the right time and, ultimately, several scenes seemed emotionless and contriving rather than controversial and visually emancipating.

Alternatively, the moral compass within which the first half of the narrative was inclining towards was lost in further bedlam and over-complication of the plot. The underlying notions of 'coming-of-age' and spiritual transformation of oneself is diffused by pointless scenes of grotesque violence with little intellectual payout. Ultimately, the protagonist's triumph over his vulnerabilities and intrusive forces create little effect to be appreciated. The movie concludes poorly rather than maintaining a sense of ingenuity leaving me completely confused by what message it was trying to send forth.

Rating: 5.5/10