How far would a mother go to provide and/or protect her child, in this case her son is an age-old question, often individuals attempt to input both rational and irrational behaviors to justify any action is deemed acceptable regardless of society’s moralistic views. This is what writer and director Ivan Kavanagh (Tin Can Man [2007]), subtly asks in his simply titled movie Son, however with the full-on bloodshed and decent gore factors, he layers in some psychological drama and covers it with a dash of mystery thereby muddying the waters. The original concept hatched from Ivan and his wife having their first boy, seeing the bond his wife had developed with him, easy enough to understand the motherly instincts, protective and from there the horror theme launched eventually earning distribution through RLJE Films and Shudder.

Cult themed horror movies hold a very special place in the genre, sometimes based on political or religious ideologies and others are more sinister (immoral) in nature. There’s been plenty throughout of the decades and generations most emerging from the 70s such as The Wicker Man [1973] and into the 80s with classics like Children of the Corn [1984] to Society [1989] hence, now they’re very common place Jackals [2017], Hallowed Ground [2019], Hereditary [2018] and Midsommar [2019]. However, before I begin here are two little things, first there’s likely some spoilers and secondly there’s no true cult backstory or for that matter an actual cult, just glimpses of what is random people, more on that later.

It all starts at a late-night dinner, with teenager Anna Hansen who seems very nervous and extremely pregnant, to older men who soon enter and quickly enough she bolts from the establishment and into the pouring rain speeds away. Seemingly she escapes, however she doesn’t want the baby that she just had unwillingly in the bloody mess on the driver’s seat, as the rain beats on the car while sitting on the side of the road. Those men nowhere in sight, or were they ever, see this all might be a window into a larger delusion that the film attempts to strive for, but doesn’t exactly connect all the dots. Anyway, a time jump occurs, and Anna changed her name to Laura (Andi Matichak (Halloween [2018])) and became a teacher, don’t worry about how, and lives in the suburban world; she’s also developed a tight bond with her child David (Luke David Blumm). Suddenly, one night she hears sounds emitting from his bedroom in the middle of the night (of course) opening the door she sees what appears is a group plain clothed individuals no speaking or moving, she does what any mother do in the situation. Grab her child or scream at these people – nope she hurries across the street to her friend and has her call the police, and runs back home. I know confusing, and I agree. The people in the room have vanished, police can’t find anything, David is fine, however lead detective Paul (Emile Hirsch (The Autopsy of Jane Doe [2016])) listens intently to Laura’s claims about an infamous cult. Soon, David interrupts by vomiting blood and falling to the floor, they rush him to the hospital, the doctors are baffled, where has one heard that horror cliché before, The Exorcist [1973] for example the warning of a mother preparing for the worst. David’s condition miraculously improves, prepares from something he ate; however, Laura becomes increasingly mentally unstable as she overhears conversations about a ‘boy’ and pieces them together quickly fleeing with her son. Meanwhile as Paul researches the backstory on Laura and her plaguing cult versus delusions, discovering incestuous relations with her father, his no-nonsense partner Steve (Cranston Johnson (Dark Awakening [2014])) hunts the mother and a string of crimes linked to her. A great many horrendous acts occurred with David as he struggles with his new condition, all his pleading and aching grows on his mother to help him starve off his pains and agony, as Laura goes to extremes to aid him. While I shall skip to the ending of where delusions and reality intertwine, let’s just admit to the truth that a mother’s love, devotion and dedication for her child’s well-being is still one half of the mix, and that a father imprints some of own characteristics into them, whether that is rational or then again perhaps monstrously devilish intentions tattoo their fate, it leaves a haunting influence.

There’s plenty of gore and a rich fulfillment of bloodlust for all the average horror fans, and some disturbing scenes for many parents especially one scene in the hospital of Laura wearing a mask and warned of her son’s impending doom. Overall, the story is a slow burn, but works to incorporate themes from Rosemary’s Baby [1968] and a set design reminiscent of The Shinning [1980]. As this a Blu-ray review, I must be honest with you, it is not worth the cost to purchase the movie, unless you are completist and you have to own very copy of a movie released. Now why do I make this bold statement, face it not every movie can have 10-extra bonus materials as the case with The Mortuary Collection [2019] or that of PG: Psycho Goreman [2020], simply here its treated as afterthought. There’s a combination of the Interview of the director and cast, and it is overwhelmingly quick, it appears they didn’t have much to discuss about the movie, also included are the deleted scenes. There’s no mention or section about cinematographer Piers McGrail’s work to capture a desolate environment for much movie, as well as long shadows, to convey the darkness overtaking Laura’s mind and world; while Aza Hand (Sea Fever [2019] continues to provide excellent sound designs that’ll grab hold the average horror viewer and for the first time ever serves as composer for the movie. Both Piers and Aza had a clear understanding of Ivan’s work since previously worked on his movie The Canal [2014].

I was really pulling for the movie to explore some of the more unsavory attitudes and topics found in some perverse cults often found in an independent crafted film will shed light into those dark corners of the human psyche sadly it doesn’t come to much fruition. The entire movie is just fine, I know not a descriptive word, that’s because the film is… fine, not too many standouts as overwhelmingly memorable, the monster revelation comes very late, though glimpse show something sinister, though similar to The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth [2006]. Often in life, parents have a hard time raising children, however for kids it’s not an easy road either, when problems arise fate dictates that course of action against one’s own wisdom and convictions.

IMDb Rating: 5.5/10

Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10