Elijah Wood plays a DJ, music producer and pop impresario WAY out of his depth in “Come to Daddy,” a gonzo, gory and goofball B-movie about fathers, sons and killing or being killed.
It doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny — nonsensical coincidences abound. But a couple of pulse-pounding fights-to-the-death, several great big twists in the plot and a befuddled “Everything is Illuminated” turn by Wood make the best “midnight movie” option for fans looking to stay out late and howl at the screen.
Wood is Norval, an LA hipster — you can tell by the mustache, the Hitler haircut and the gold plated cell-phone “designed by Lorde” — who deposits himself on the stoop of his father’s remote, cliffside “like a UFO from the ’60s” bungalow on the Oregon shore.
“I got your letter.”
Dad (Stephen McHattie) seems nonplussed. Long-estranged from his ex-wife and his son, he’s a bluff and blustering ex-limo driver who doesn’t want to hear the kid’s stories about the music biz, about being “discovered” by Elton John.
“I like fight stories,” the old man growls. No intimate father-son chats here, oh no.
“I don’t want to discuss it.”
That is, of course, before the meat cleaver comes out, before the old man charges him, before the cop (Garfield Wilson) grills the kid and notes that “bad guys have eyes that look like raisins,” and that his old man had “raisin eyes.”
And then there’s the coroner (Madeleine Sami) who suggests — as his father is now a corpse and Norval has to “store him” due to a backlog at the morgue — that “You should talk to him,” dead “him.” “It helps.”
Producer (“ABCs of Death II”) turned-director Ant Timpson makes sure to take a “story by” credit here, because that first “twist” is just the first of many. The whole damned movie, from here on out, is twists.
We’re led in one direction, only to have events turn on a dime in another direction.
And at every turn, Norval takes another step in his journey from vulnerable and fragile enough to have attempted suicide to wounded and bludgeoned and toughened up by the experience to not be as hapless as he is when we first meet him.
The deadpan locals get all the funny lines and few actors working in the movies are better “reactors” than Wood.
Graphic, stomach-churning violence, grotesque nudity and the occasional witty line don’t add up to much of a movie. But they do add up to just barely enough to make this one fumbling, fearful and fun.
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity
Cast: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley, Ona Grauer, Garfield Wilson and Madeleine Sami.
Credits: Directed by Ant Timpson, script by Toby Harvard. A Saban Films release.
Running time: 1:35