Written and directed by Ivan Kavanagh, the film SON tells us all what to do when our young son may be possessed by a demon – rooooad trip! Cue lip-synching to Britney Spears in a convertible and a snack-munching montage.
Single mother Laura (Andi Matichak) and her young son David (Luke David Blumm) have a near-perfect life. They have good friends, happy times, a gigantic house on an elementary teacher’s single salary, and the perfect mother/son relationship.
But things start going downhill fast when Laura finds a mysterious group of people in David’s room late at night. However, when detectives (a bland Emile Hirsch and a very grouchy Cranston Johnson) investigate, nothing is to be found. Soon after, David begins having painful episodes, vomiting blood and craving human flesh.
In an attempt to run from the law and save her son, Laura decides to travel back to where it all began…
While the story has an interesting premise and Andi Matichak really pushes herself in the performance she delivers onscreen, there are some issues with SON.
For one, a huge pet peeve of mine is the inclusion and general underdevelopment of child characters in film. I’m not putting any blame on Luke David Blumm, but his character had little substance to him. I know that we’re supposed to sympathize with Laura and feel for her as she makes very difficult decisions in the hopes of saving David; however, we need a character that we want to protect, too. His character (especially in the beginning) is a blandly “perfect son”.
Now, I’m not asking for The Babadook‘s Samuel levels of engagement, but give me something more to connect with. Kids are weird and imperfect. They screw up things when trying to make them better. They have crazy fantasies that make no sense, and have a crapton of character to them. I wanted to feel something towards this kid, but all I got was, “This kid’s perfect, so you like him” trope.
Second, I revoke SON‘s license for overly loud dramatic-string stings. The score wasn’t well-matched with the film and seemed to just throw spooky music to a scene and hoped that it stuck. It did not.
And last, the spooooooky dramatic ending that many others are talking about – it’s…fine. It’s not ground-breaking and you’ll probably see it coming. However, I have to give it up to creature design and special effects (excluding some of the issues with blood consistency). The creature’s design and reveals were extremely powerful and haunting, especially in the bedroom at the end.
Overall, SON is just fine. But I wouldn’t spend a road trip with it.
SON is now available in select theaters and on Digital and On-Demand from RLJE Films.