Ant Timpson, veteran New Zealand producer of films such as Turbo kid or Deathgasm, has presented in Sitges
Come to Daddy
, his debut as a film director of lengths, and for this reason he has chosen black comedy, a very frequent subgenre in Sitges and in theaters for a while now because it is probably proven that the mixture of humor and horror is easily accepted by the public. "If you are to show horrible things, let it be with humor." Tarantino and the Coen Brothers know it, and of course there is a whole British tradition that has been working effectively since the fifties. In our latitudes, directors such as Álex de la Iglesia have made this their dynamiting foundation, to cite some hasty example.
Co-produced between New Zealand, USA and Canada, the film is based on an idea of Timpson himself from a somewhat tremendous personal experience, transformed into a script by Toby Harvard. Apparently, the companion of the director's father decided, after his death, that it would be a good idea to embalm the body to be able to have it in the family home for a few days as a long duel and farewell. The young Timpson lived a cathartic and comforting experience on the one hand, but on the other also a little scary.
The ineffable Elijah Wood, eternal Frodo in our imaginary, of eternally adolescent physicist, embodies a thirty-something hipster, Norval, who descends from a coach somewhere in Oregon's coastal area – although the tape has been shot on the Canadian coast of Vancouver, in British Columbia -. His character is a case: he has a polished mustache, and has an appearance reminiscent of an ecclesiastical with a Vatican hat, under which he wears a medieval haircut, for which he would say emerged from Navigator, an odyssey in timeby Vincent Ward. Of course, it seems someone out of place and clumsy who first loses his headdress and then, at his destination, his gold-plated mobile phone of which there are only twenty copies in the world. He claims to be a DJ and goes to meet his father, who abandoned his wife and son when he was young. The parent sends him a brief letter inviting him to meet him again after thirty years.
Incarnated by Stephen McHattie, the father in question, in a state of moderate drunkenness, does not even seem to remember writing him the note, and soon he would say he is disaffected, sinister and even with suspicious homicidal tendencies. Live to touch the coast in a circular, elevated building, which looks like a wooden transcript of the famous Chemosphere that Brian De Palma used in Double body. Not surprisingly, Norval appreciates that "it looks like a UFO", and of course it is a building with secrets, although the camera is never enough to show us enough to give us a complete idea of the place. The dialogue between father and son in front of a bottle of wine, where lies and swells float like an unexpected paternofilial competition, make this sequence one of the best moments of the film.
The father dies of a heart attack, and his body, due to problems of the funerary service of the place – splendid comic sequence with Madeleine Sami -, will live with him for a few days embalmed. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and little by little surprises occur and mysteries are revealed regarding the identity of their parents and around a great robbery that involves everyone. Finally unleashed violence is unleashed amid circumstances that are going to have a lot of sperm.
The truth is that it is a discreet film, much more stimulating in its first part, which establishes the situation, than in the second, where Timpson, despite some hilarious moment of bad taste controlled, fails to inject the necessary energy. Of course, Wood, McHattie, Sami and Martin Donovan save the show, but the film loses gas and in its final stretch it fails to keep the viewer's attention intact. However, the photography of Daniel Katz (the warm-toned wood inside the peculiar building and the coast) is optimal, and also highlights the energetic and climatic music of Karl Steven. There is also a disturbing use of sounds that helps to tighten the action and add brushstrokes of terror. A fast-consumption film that, however, entertains to some extent.