Wednesday, June 15, 2022

#2,769. Son (2021) - 2021 Horror Movies


Writer / director Ivan Kavanagh’s Son spends its first hour or so building an intriguing mystery, slowly peeling away the layers of a story that hints at everything from sexual trauma to demon worship. The issue, unfortunately, is that once that hour is up, we the audience have been able to piece most of it together, resulting in a final act that isn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped.

Laura (Andi Matichak), who escaped from a cult the very day she gave birth, has spent the last 8 years being a good mother to her son David (Luke David Blumm). Their peaceful existence is threatened, however, when Laura walks into David’s room one night and finds a group of strangers gathered around his bed, who seem to disappear as quickly as they materialized. The police, led by Detective Paul (Emile Hirsch), investigate, only to find no evidence of forced entry.

Things go from bad to worse for Laura when David suddenly becomes deathly ill. The doctors have no idea what’s causing his sickness, but a secret from Laura’s past may hold the answers, leaving her with the troubling realization that David is far from the “normal” little boy he appears to be.

As he did with both The Canal and Never Grow Old, Kavanagh infuses Son with a dark ambiance, which grows in intensity as the story unfolds. And, for a while, that story was equally as dark; from the opening scene where we witness David’s birth to the moment we realize the boy’s true nature - a particularly violent sequence involving Laura’s neighbor / good friend Susan (Erin Bradley Danger) - Son had my undivided attention.

The cast is also strong; Matichak delivers a solid performance as the devoted mother whose memories of past traumas slowly return to her, and young Luke David Blumm is especially good as David, convincingly portraying both ends of his character’s extremes. Thanks to these two, the relationship between mother and child proves to be the most compelling aspect of the film.

Unfortunately, the final act, when Laura and David are on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of both the police and those mysterious individuals who have taken an interest in the boy, is a bit more pedestrian than what went before it. There’s a scene set inside a dingy motel room that, though quite violent, played out exactly as I thought it would, and the big twist at the end didn’t come as much of a surprise.

With its brooding atmosphere, intriguing (early) mystery, and fine cast, Son is ultimately worth a watch. I only wish it ended as well as it began.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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