Another year, another “there is something wrong with my son” horror movie, but if you look past the familiar beats, Ivan Kavanagh has delivered a gruesome and chilling 2021 treat….
If you can imagine that in an alternative universe somehow poor Rosemary managed to escape the clutches of that “cult” before she had that baby and ended up being alone in a diner, confused, scared and with the arrival of what is inside her imminent, then you have got the jumpstart of how SON begins.
We have the hints of the horror to come when poor Laura (a rather excellent Andi Matichak) looks down and sees the gory sight of her child coming out of her, while she howls “she does not want him” a foreshadowing of the blood that is set to be spilled and believe me, there will be blood….plenty of it!
Oddly, the uncomfortable start is replaced with a time jump of Laura now living happily, with friendly neighbours and a handsome young eight year old son called David (Luke David Blumm) in what can only be described as a picture perfect life. Of course this being a horror and the sense of dread and doom leaving its murky fingerprints over each and every scene, we know that something is coming and its going to be bad and we see in a startling scene of Laura hearing a noise, opening her son’s bedroom and being greeted to a horde of strangers around David’s bed and the screeching sound of the soundtrack leaving an imprint on our mind and ears!
Soon after David falls ill, vomiting blood, his skin oozing with painful sores and the doctors at a loss of what is happening. Did those strange night time visitors poison the young lad? Is it all in Laura’s mind? Or is it connected to her past in which she once escaped from a cult? What do you think?
As the eerie soundtrack by Azar Hand builds the tension and the creepy vibe, we the viewer can not help but feel an unease of what is going to happen and when the film reveals its hand in the most gruesome way, you can not help but feel for Laura and ask yourself “What would you do if you were in her position?”
Horror veterans will no doubt recall other great films with a similar premise, but SON works because it feels like an old fashioned 70’s horror tale and yet a refreshing one that stands out in the age of Found Footage and endless remakes. The atmospheric dread serves the simple story well and as Laura virtually takes the road with her son in tow and will do anything she can possible to protect her child, even if it means killing, then how can you not be captivated by what is being told?
Emile Hirsch continues his fine work in pretty decent films, this time as the detective who wants to believe Laura, more so as the body count starts to rise and the relationship between mother and son is pretty sweet, despite the stakes and while the film never builds to a feverish momentum, its own one tone dread delivers an uncomfortable finale that even a silly and a not surprising final reveal could ruin.
SON may offer up many of the same old themes, but it still has the power to shock and scare, with a final scene you’ll be thinking about, long after the credits roll.
4 Hatchets out of 5