March 3rd, 2021
STARRING: ANDI MATICHAK, LUKE DAVID BLUMM, CRANSTON JOHNSON, EMILE HIRSCH
DIRECTED BY: IVAN KAVANAGH
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The horror genre is arguably the best, always inventive, and because you never know what kind of movie you are going to get. Sometimes the setting is a haunted house, or the monster comes out at night to get you, or it even could be a slasher movie at an old summer camp. And still, we get a movie like Son, which has the background of a lower budget production, but has the look of a cool new horror flick, one that will eventually have a cult following. Son is the story of Laura (Andi Matichak), a single mother, living in a small suburb, a teacher in the daytime, and doing her best for her child David (Luke David Blumm). One day, Laura walks into David’s room to find a collection of people standing around his bed. Spirits? Are they really there? Or is there something going on with David? In Son, there is an unbreakable bond between this mother and child, through flesh and blood, and the willingness to feed the beast that lives inside her baby. This Son is a wicked child.
After Laura witnesses the figures in David’s room, she calls the police, and detective Paul (Emile Hirsch) is placed on the case to figure out what’s afoot. At first he’s just doing his due diligence to catch the perceived intruders, but soon, strange creepy occurrences take place inside the home. Then David begins to experience stomach pains and a sickness inside him, and now it’s not just a case of breaking and entering, but a case of a demonic presence. Days pass and David’s stomach begins to bruise and blood spits up from his mouth. Something is eating away at the child from the inside. Doctors have no clue, but the way to subside the pain becomes a sacrifice of human flesh and blood, something that only makes things worse.
Now, it’s futile to compare Son to a hit like The Exorcist because it’s not remotely close to being as great as the William Friedkin classic. That’s not what writer/director Ivan Kavanagh is going for. What Kavanagh does capture, however, is a comparison to the Danish hit Let the Right One In or Matt Reeves’ American remake Let Me In. When David decides to eat the stomach of his neighbor, leaving a trail of blood, and a rotting body behind, the narrative shifts to a mother on the run with her boy, while two police officers look into her past to find out why this is happening. With each stop, David’s body crackles and shifts, constantly changing, one minute from a bright happy boy, to a monster that needs to feed. With a combination of killer sound effects and bloody good makeup, Son becomes the gore fest I didn’t realize that I wanted.
A fun fact about Son is that we are witnessing the rise of a new scream queen in Andi Matichak. The actress from Wheaton, Illinois took her place in horror film lore as the granddaughter of Lori Strode in David Gordon Green’s Halloween reboot. Now she’s becoming the protector in Son, a character that reveals her own haunted past, involving a family submerged into cults, and sacrifices for a greater being. The mixture of the narrative involves the shocking flashes of violence and young Luke David Blumm doing his best Linda Blair style demon child, but the show belongs to Matichak, who carries the weight of her characters fears, haunting past, or the remote possibility that it is all in her head.
It’s not that Son is this shocking masterpiece that changes the way we see horror films. I didn’t feel an unease as I did with The Dark and the Wicked, a shift in how the horror genre is told in the way Hereditary shocked us. But I did get a sense that Son was inspired by many other horror films that relate to the struggle of being a single parent, whether it’s The Babadook, Bird Box, or recently in Relic. Son knows exactly how to twist and turn the story of how far a mother will go to protect the child they love, the sacrifices we must make, and the fact that we can’t keep them from everything. Son is a hungry horror movie, starving for attention. You better give it what it wants.
RLJE FILMS WILL RELEASE SON IN SELECT THEATERS, ON DIGITAL, AND ON DEMAND FRIDAY MARCH 5TH, 2021
Written by: Leo Brady