Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Ant Timpson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Martin Donovan.
More twisted weirdness from New Zealand filmmaker Ant Timpson, best known for his work as a producer on gory horror films like the 2012 horror anthology The ABCs of Death. Timpson makes his feature directorial debut with this irreverent, nasty and darkly comic thriller about a young man who tries to reconnect with his estranged father after a thirty-year absence.
Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood, from the epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, etc), a hipster musician with a terrible haircut, arrives at the remote lakeside house of his estranged father following a cryptic letter asking him to come and visit. On arrival at the uniquely designed house that looks like a UFO from the 60s, Norval is subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse from his father. Soon he is quickly thrust into a dangerous situation as a group of vicious men have come looking for revenge against his father.
Co-written with Toby Harvard (The Greasy Strangler, etc), the film constantly subverts expectations. There is some gore and gonzo sleaze, delivered with relish by Timpson. He also effectively ramps up the claustrophobic tension. There is some great production design from Zosia Mackenzie, making the house almost a character in its own right. The film has been atmospherically shot by cinematographer Daniel Katz (I Am Legend, etc), who works in close-up to heighten the effect.
Wood, best known for playing Frodo in the epic Lord Of The Rings trilogy, is perfectly cast here as Norval, and again taps into that dark and creepy side of his screen persona he explored so effectively in films like 2012’s Maniac remake. Here he adds to his gallery of oddball characters and displays an awkwardness that is uncomfortable and somewhat endearing. The supporting cast includes Stephen McHattie in full on weirdness mode, and Martin Donovan.