Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Film Review: The Good Son (1993)

The Good Son (Review)
United States/1993
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you like 'evil child'-type of movies, this is a must-watch."

After his mother's death, 12-year-old Mark Evans (Elijah Wood) is sent to stay with his uncle and aunt, where he meets his cousin of the same age—a boy with violent tendencies.

The Good Son is a chilling film. The plot begins with Mark losing his mother—don't worry, that's not a spoiler. Since his father has to work, Mark is sent to live with his uncle and aunt for a few weeks. At their house, he meets his cousins: Henry Evans (Macaulay Culkin) and Connie. Mark immediately becomes friends with Henry. They fight, they argue, but they like each other. Well, at least until Henry begins showcasing his disturbing behavior. As Henry's behavior grows increasingly violent, Mark becomes convinces that Henry wants to hurt his family—but no one will believe him. It leads to a compelling, albeit predictable, ending. I don’t mean the actual ending is predictable, but you kind of know where it's heading.


The Good Son is a great film. It starts off slow, taking time to build the characters and their relationships. When I say 'slow,' I don't mean boring. Yes, it could have been paced better, but it does capture your attention from the beginning. It's not really suspenseful during the first act, either. Instead, it focuses on build-up—and it works. You start by watching Henry roughhousing and smoking, and that gradually builds up to his violent acts. By the time it reached the midway point, it completely captured my attention. That's when it becomes suspenseful and frightening. I don't really have any signifcant complains for this film. Sure, I could nitpick, but it just doesn't seem necessary. It may not be a masterpiece, but The Good Son is a great movie.

The acting was good, too. Elijah Wood delivered a great performance—very impressive for a child actor. Macaulay Culkin, of Home Alone fame, was also great. He plays the wicked child very well. The film was shot well. The music was pretty standard stuff for the genre, but it wasn't bad. The film was directed by Joseph Ruben and written by Ian McEwan. The writing was great, focusing on character to create dread and horror. The themes were compelling, too. Ruben's direction was also fine.

Overall, The Good Son is a great film. If you like 'evil child'-type of movies, this is a must-watch. It's not the most effective film ever made, but it is a chilling experience. Don't miss it.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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