By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Horror/thriller has lots of blood/gore and a child in pain.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie is mainly about motherly love and responsibility that creators have to their creations. How far is it OK to go to care for and protect them? How far is too far?
Positive Role Models
No clear role models. Laura tries to protect her child but commits horrific acts to do so. Meanwhile, Paul seems like a good police detective, but he too has a dark side.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of blood and gore. Guns, shooting. Characters are shot and killed. Baby born covered in blood. Child shown covered in blood and screaming. Scary stuff (group of "ghosts" in child's room). Child drinks blood from torn-up corpse. Child vomits blood. Child in agony, screaming "it really hurts!" Bruises on child's body. Blood on pillow. Large man grabs a woman by the hair, dragging her as she kicks and choking her. Child attacks large adult, chewing on him. Bloody body parts. Character slices his own arm for child to drink. Strangling. Child describes a bad dream: "drowning in a river of blood." Reference to a child "born dead." Reference to "killing and torturing animals."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Extremely brief image of multiple people (mostly men) fully naked; they're shown in long shot. Lewd drawing of a penis and oral sex on the cover of a Bible. Kissing. Shirtless man.
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Many uses of "f--k," single uses of "bitch," "butt."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Minor characters drink whiskey. A parent says they "lost a teen to drugs."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Son is a horror movie/thriller about a woman (Andi Matichak) who gives birth to a child who requires blood to survive and her decision to take care of him at any cost. Blood and gore are extremely strong throughout, with torn-up bodies, a child attacking and eating victims, shooting, characters dying, a boy in agony, a large man grabbing a woman by the hair and dragging her (and trying to choke her), scary imagery, and more. Two extremely brief shots show many people (mostly men) fully naked, from far away. Two characters kiss, and a lewd picture of a penis and oral sex is drawn on the cover of a Bible. "F--k" is used many times. Characters drink whiskey in the background of a scene, and there's a reference to drugs. The movie is fairly well made and acted, but its downsides eventually outweigh its upsides.
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What's the Story?
In SON, a disheveled pregnant woman named Laura (Andi Matichak) appears to be on the run. When her baby's arrival is imminent, she screams "I don't want you!" Years later, Laura seems to be the happy single mom of 8-year-old David (Luke David Blumm). One night, Laura discovers a group of strange people in David's room who disappear as quickly as they came. She calls the police, and a detective, Paul (Emile Hirsch), shows up. Even though he can't find anything, Paul is sympathetic to Laura's concerns. David suddenly falls very ill, with bruises appearing on his body. Laura leaves him with her neighbor Susan (Erin Bradley Dangar) for just a second -- when she comes back, David has torn Susan open and is drinking her blood. Laura decides to protect her child at all costs and goes on the run. But Paul is determined to find her -- and David.
Is It Any Good?
Generally well-made and well-acted, this horror/thriller still doesn't really work thanks to a repetitive, fairly predictable storyline and many upsetting scenes of a child screaming in pain. To be sure, Son is evenly paced, sufficiently gory, and intermittently thrilling. Matichak is authentic as Laura, diving deep into motherly love and the instinct to protect her child under any circumstances, while Hirsch shows a compassionate side that's appealing. But the movie kicks off with the momentum of a promised chase that it never really keeps up, despite the occasional lurking figure.
Then it becomes more or less a vampire story, or something vaguely along the lines of Little Shop of Horrors, in which the main character must find the least admirable humans to obtain fresh blood from to sustain its creation. And since each segment happens more or less the same way, with poor David shrieking "it hurts! It hurts so bad!" each time, it gets a little hard to take. Add all this to the fact that the opening sequence hangs over the entire story, anticipating another shoe dropping. When it finally does, it feels like too little, too late. Son was a decent try, but its minuses tend to overpower its plusses.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Son's violence. How strong is it? How did it make you feel? Does all the gore feel necessary to telling the story?
How did the scenes with David screaming in pain make you feel? Did the fact that it's pretend make it OK?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies? Why do people sometimes like to be scared on purpose?
How do movies about monsters help us learn more about ourselves?
- In theaters: March 5, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: March 5, 2021
- Cast: Emile Hirsch, Andi Matichak, Luke David Blumm
- Director: Ivan Kavanagh
- Studios: RLJE Films, Shudder
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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