Son is the latest film from Irish director Ivan Kavanagh, who also made a decent low-budget western, Never Grow Old, which starred John Cusack and Emile Hirsch. It was a pleasant surprise, as I hadn’t expected much from the film since it was relegated to a token theatrical run in ten theatres in the UK followed by a DVD-only release the next week. This new film reunited Kavanagh with Hirsch, and is a horror flick.
Andi Matichak plays Laura, the mother of an eight-year-old boy who starts suffering from a mysterious illness after she claims a cult has broken into her suburban house and attempted to kidnap her son. There is no sign of forced entry, so the police detectives are somewhat suspicious of her claims, but Paul (Emile Hirsch) takes a liking to the woman. Soon through a series of events the mother and son are on the lam, her past is uncovered, and the boy develops a taste for human flesh.
The story unfolds as the typical “is she crazy or are there actually dark forces are play?” tale we’ve seen a thousand times. The film is nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s incredibly competently made. It develops in a slow-burn fashion with echoes of ’70s-style filmmaking. The performances from Matichak and Hirsch are solid, and the kid ain’t too bad either.
Overall, it’s a decent hybrid of Rosemary’s Baby with maybe a bit of Jeff Nichols’ underrated Midnight Special thrown in. It doesn’t hold back on the gore, either, but is never gratuitous, even though there isn’t anything wrong with that. The film even has a pretty solid twist at the end, which is a rarity these days. Ivan Kavanagh is certainly a director to look out for, one I’m certain can only get better.
The film was picked up by Shudder, and is certainly one of the better “Shudder Original” films—but pick up the Blu-Ray if you can, it has some extras, including interviews with cast and crew, and deleted scenes.