We are getting used to seeing Elijah Wood appearing as you would never expect him to as he carves out a singular career doing pretty much what he wants. Here, he’s playing Norval and dressed in full on goth apparel he gets off a coach in the middle of nowhere and makes his way to a secluded cabin. His father (Stephen Hattie) lives there and after years of no contact, for some reason, he’s been summoned.

The initial meeting isn’t exactly friendly with his father, in a foul mood, drunk challenging his son about everything while Norval tries to impress him, bigging up his role in the music industry with a cock and bull Elton John story that anyone could see through. It’s a tense situation, disconcerting to say the least with dad making phone calls during the night.
Norval pushes his father for answers as to why he called him and for his persistence, is attacked.

It’s all intriguing stuff and to say too much more would really spoil things other than to say it gets unpleasant, and very funny. Wood is in fine form here as a dandy with all the pretensions that go with a limited edition mobile and his pencil thin moustache but little in-depth savvy.

Director (and writer with Toby Harvard) Ant Timpson in the early stages of the film sow the seeds of a dark humour that are reaped later on. And it is a slow starter as Norval and dad spar, picking up when other characters are introduced especially when Michael Smiley playing Jethro turns up. The rest would be telling.

Note this is a review of the film presented at FrightFest 2019. It's scheduled for a UK release in early 2020.