Review: Son (2021)

Every day that goes by, the line between mainstream commercial horror and small limited productions gets thinner. It’s a division that will likely disappear at some point, considering the relatively small amount of big horror productions that are widely released. There is a considerable amount of treasures beyond what big producers decide to distribute.

It’s in that fine division that we stand, proudly watching the movies that are reaching for the top, and that deserve significant recognition or a release.
As I was watching the fantastic first act of Son, I started thinking about the great amount of good horror movies I had seen lately. Yes, I am a fan and will always be proud of it. However, for quite some time I hadn’t felt the presence of such an enormous explosion of talent behind the camera. Son is that kind of movie, one that holds power in its story and its execution. It’s substantial, smart and scary. It’s never logical, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s just a tragic rendering of primal love with horrible consequences.

How far would you go?
Laura has escaped from people who wanted to take her baby when she gave birth. Years after she appears to have left the past behind and she now lives with her son David, a healthy and curious boy. One night she opens her son’s bedroom door and finds a group of people around his bed. She panics and calls the police, but the strangers seem to have disappeared. David doesn’t remember a thing.

Not much time passes when David begins to suffer from a strange disease doctors can’t identify. His skin is full of blisters and bruises. Then one day, he suddenly gets better and gets to go home. Everyone says it’s a miracle… then it comes back. Hopeless, Laura stays by his bedside until she notices the strangers are back and she connects the dots: David’s sick because of them and she needs to protect him.

I won’t spoil much about what happens, but an understandable protection from a mother, turns into a brutal denial of the truth. Her past is back and David is not the innocent little boy she thought he was.

From protection to deliverance.
Son is a film with curious progression. Laura’s character is mainly trying to protect her son from something evil she recognizes and knows she’s still a part of. That’s why the final act feels a little out of place. However, in hindsight there’s a lot to be considered, and through a backward analysis things will fall into place.
A moral examination is almost sparked when the film turns Laura into a questionable mother, but her role is primal. It’s only natural that she needs to satisfy her son, even if it’s the last time. It’s worth commenting on this, because people will definitely question what she does.

A good movie, no matter what everybody says.
Ivan Kavanagh directs this film and his work is not that well known, except for his last foray into horror that I definitely didn’t like. Nevertheless, there’s always a chance for a comeback. And Son is the perfect opportunity to meet him. Pure horror seldom connects with the viewer without following a formula or even the aesthetics of big studio productions. This one contains neither and Kavanagh doesn’t allow us to miss it.

Good for him and good for “small” horror.

Federico Furzan | Twitter: @federicofurzan

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