For those looking to dabble in the world of horror, Shudder has you covered with the newest feature from Ivan Kavanagh called “Son”. A dark and sinister tale of a mother trying to protect her son from evil forces that could actually be connected to her own past. Admittedly it’s a plot-line that sounds a bit commonplace for the genre. Yet there are many layers of appeal, chilling visuals, and plenty of twists and turns, to feel fresh and keep you locked in. This one provides a blend of tension, grim suspense, and emotionally driven storytelling, and it splashes it with bursts of gory visuals to bring the energy as well as uneasiness up to entertaining levels.
The performances were all solid for the genre. Films with plots like these often feel like assembly line horror romps with flat characters. However here the cast does infuse substance into arguably thinly written players. Andi Matichak is honestly given a bland character-type but the charisma and heart that she pumps into the role creates that (mother fighting for her son) vibe to keep you intrigued. You may not know much about her. But you can sense the love she has for her son which is all more than enough to understand the motivation behind the decisions she makes in this story to protect her child. Something that can build a human connection while watching.
Like I said, the writing for the characters wasn’t overly layered. Emile Hirsch continues to deliver capable performances and once again here he pulls the material up as best as possible. Some of the choices he makes along this narrative felt a tad contrived for the sake of plot direction. But nothing that gets in the way of the unnerving suspense and the ability of this story to continually elevate the tension as it approaches the final act. This one plays out like a dark crime-thriller as Laura fights to save her son, and Paul tries to put the pieces together to what is happening. With the horror elements coming in to get the heart rate going while also giving weight to the intensity of what was happening to this young boy.
“Son” isn’t necessarily a blow-your-mind horror flick, but it is a very capable one. There is enough meat to sink your teeth into for an ominous ride. The run-time is quick, right at around the hour-and-a-half mark, which keeps the pace moving along nicely. Although a little more time spent developing the dynamics between the characters would have helped to make the progression feel a bit more authentic. Regardless, it’s a good time. It certainly feels like a horror movie in places but shows a focus on the story-telling. It knows when to take itself seriously and it knows when to let loose with gory doses of violence. And with all the pieces working together here the result is a flick worth checking out for genre fans.
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