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Novice Karate Group (ages 8 & up)

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Nveraf Mhernandezb
Nveraf Mhernandezb

Come To Daddy


Come To Daddy

Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood), a privileged musician who lives with his mother in a Beverly Hills mansion, receives a letter from his estranged father asking him to come and visit him. Norval, who has not seen his father since he was five years old, makes the trek to a secluded cabin overlooking the coast in Oregon. His father, Brian, is initially welcoming to him, but Norval's admission of a suicide attempt seems to anger Brian, who soon begins to display aggressive tendencies, taunting and insulting Norval, and even threatening him with physical violence. All this comes to a head one afternoon when Brian attacks Norval with a meat cleaver, but in the ensuing struggle, Brian has a heart attack and immediately dies.

Due to a lack of space at the local morgue, Norval is forced to keep his father's body in the cabin with him after having it embalmed. He attempts to stay in the house long enough for his mother to come and get him, but is repeatedly awakened by loud sounds from somewhere within the house. Finding a hidden family photo album, Norval sees a photo of his father and realizes that the dead man is not his father at all. He then finds a hidden hatch in the house leading to a bunker beneath, where he finds his real father bloodied and chained up. On his father's orders, he attempts to kill a man, Jethro, who arrives to torture his father, but Jethro escapes, promising revenge.

Some other weird things happen, too. Gordon is often on the phone at night, whispering about some kind of deal with an unknown caller. When father and son agree to go for a swim, Gordon stays behind, and while floating in the ocean, Norval is startled by a rock that comes quite close to hitting his head. The son chalks up all of this to the fact that Gordon is an alcoholic, who was probably drunk when he wrote the letter and now resents the presence of a son with whom he wants nothing to do. Even then, though, something is seriously off about this reunion.

Here's what can be said: The film takes this father-son dynamic to increasing extremes, and the rest of the plot mirrors that snowball-down-a-hill effect. The house has a couple of secrets to discover, including some hidden mementos that at first suggest the father whom Norval meets was a very different man at some point in the long-ago or very recent past, as well as a hatch in the floor in the middle of the living room. Norval's visit becomes even less amiable, which would have seemed impossible given Gordon's descent from passive-aggressive resentment to flat-out homicidal rage. The sudden appearance of a group of goons from not-so-dear, old dad's past, though, can force that kind of re-evaluation on how bad a situation can become.

The vital thing is that Harvard's screenplay never cheats. There's a twisted sense of logic to everything that unfolds (and sometimes, such as Norval's extra-effort but unnecessary attempts to free someone bound in chains, a warped humor within that twisted logic). There are fights (including one that showcases how tough the cardboard rolls holding plastic wrap really are) and plenty of instances of sneaking around, outside the house and at a nearby motel, where Norval has to maneuver quietly past some people sleeping peacefully after an orgy. Timpson stages each of these scenes with straightforward efficiency. He's smart enough to know both that the humor comes from the assorted scenarios, without any extraneous directorial playfulness, and that there's still tension to be mined in even the most absurd situations.

elijah wood cosplaying as an e-boy (that half-baked skrillex haircut! those chipped black nails!) in a slow taught domestic daddy issues thriller set along the scenic oregon coast that suddenly goes balls to the wall (literally) insane...

Therapeutic for anyone with daddy issues, a crush on Michael Smiley, a tendency to always call Wood that 'chap from Lord of the Rings, a dream of living outdoors and intentions to try that erotic as


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