DVD Review: Son - (2021)

By , Contributor
Why title a movie Son? It's nondescript to the point of inspiring apathy among potential viewers. I mean, really, Son? That could be about anything. In this case it happens to be a horror movie about a demonic/vampiric child, David (Luke David Blumm). Maybe something like "Demon Son" would've been too on the nose, but this is a B movie after all. Let your target audience know, in advance, what to expect. Writer-director Ivan Kavanagh cobbled together various horror tropes and built a rather flimsy story around the basic question (as he poses in the DVD supplements): how far will a mother go to protect her child?

Probably not as far as Laura (Andi Matichak) does in Son. As unconditional as a mother's love generally is, the acts committed by David are probably examples of crossing just about any parent's line. Laura is being pursued by what she believes is the cult who raised her. Her preteen son starts acting super weird, not to mention suffering horrific seizures and convulsions that put him in the hospital more than once. After witnessing what appeared to be a home invasion, Laura contacts the police. A sympathetic cop, Paul (Emile Hirsch), is assigned to protect her.

But as Laura watches David devolve into a sort of Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish personality mashup—normal at times, zombie-like at others—she realizes no one can really help her. Various figures are in pursuit of Laura and her son, while Paul pops up to offer support now and again (mostly insisting that all the weirdness is in Laura's mind; to be fair, he isn't witness to the most violent of David's episodes). It's atmospheric and sufficiently gory for most horror enthusiasts (perhaps even a bit too much so). But it's not especially well-paced, feeling more like a 30-minute episode of... something, rather than a 90-minute feature.

What keeps Son watchable are the strong performances, particularly by Matichak (of the recent Halloween sequel, and it's upcoming sequels). She does far more to craft a believable portrait of a desperate (and deranged) mother than the material really should allow. And as son David, young Luke David Blumm is very effective as well. His sweet-natured, lucid David is endearing (think Linda Blair in The Exorcist), while his creepy, possessed incarnation is certainly the most unsettling aspect of Son.

The DVD (this Shudder Original is also available on Blu-ray) includes a number of deleted scenes (including some flashbacks to help flesh out Laura's backstory, intended emphasis on flesh as there is full-front nudity) and a featurette comprised of behind-the-scenes interviews.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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