SON (2021) Reviews of supernatural horror – with UK Blu-ray release news

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Son is a 2021 Irish supernatural horror film about a mother who must decide how far she will go to protect her boy from terrifying forces.

Written and directed by Ivan Kavanagh (The Canal; The Fading Light; The Solution), the Belladonna Productions-Elastic Film-Park Films production stars Emile Hirsch (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Freaks; The Autopsy of Jane Doe), Andi Matichak (Halloween Kills; Halloween 2018; Assimilate), Luke David Blumm (The Walking Dead series) and Erin Bradley Dangar.


Having escaped from a demonic cult as a child, a mother’s past catches up with her when its sinister members break into her home and attempt to steal her eight-year-old boy for their ritual. Now on the run with her son, he becomes deathly sick. Something has changed in him since his aborted kidnap. Doctors are baffled and only a sharp police detective seems to believe her story.

Having observed that her boy makes a miraculous recovery when he has tasted human blood, she follows her maternal instinct by committing murder to keep her son alive. However, after numerous unspeakable acts, she is still losing the battle with the demon growing inside him and questions how she can save her son…


Son is filled with plenty of blood and guts moments. These moments are made more impactful due to some disgusting sound effects. Matichak also does a great job. Laura is more than just the frightened mother on the run. There is a layer of trauma to the character that adds to the film.” AIPT

“There’s a seam of oddness which lurks beneath the surface of Ivan Kavanagh’s (The Canal, Never Grow Old) latest film. While not everything comes together, there is enough ingenuity and thoughtfulness to keep you in the moment. This is personified by a number of interesting set-ups and shot choices.” Backseat Mafia

” …when we get to the third act and some big reveals, look out! All three actors shine, pushing you closer to the edge of your seat as visuals become ever closer, more intense, and more revealing while Robin Hill’s editing becomes even more rapier bringing us to one of the most chilling final images in cinema.” Behind the Lens

Son may not win points for narrative originality, but it makes up for that with a distinct visual style and palpable dread. It’s not what happens that makes Son work so well, but how Kavanagh once again delivers potent chills and an ominous atmosphere. Matichak imbues a straightforward earnestness that gives emotional stakes.” Bloody Disgusting

“Tropey, ineffective, and cliché could all be used to accurately describe Son. While the film has some highpoints in the makeup and set design, the mediocre directing, empty script, and poor sound design leave little to be desired when watching.” CRP Writes

“ …Son only fills to the minimum line with the lukewarm water of thin characters who exist purely to nudge paltry plot points along a slow and familiar path. It’s an unremarkable horror movie that no reasonable person would ever award a higher accolade than, “It was kind of OK, I guess.” Culture Crypt

“There are a couple of slips that perhaps prevent Son from achieving all-time great status. But don’t let that deter you from seeking it out. For most of the film, Son fires on all cylinders, taking you for a ride full of surprises, excellent performances and top-notch misdirection.” Dread Central

“With one predictable exception, Son largely does keep us guessing as things get increasingly more sinister while the performances from Andi Matichak and Luca David Blumm, in turn, become more layered and devastating. Son has its faults but remains a twisted exercise with decent character work throughout.” Flickering Myth

“The story surprised me without trying too hard, the jumpscares were scary but conservative and the practical effects were tasteful. Overall, I found Son to be a unique story. At times, Son could feel busy but for a little suspense of disbelief, you’ll have yourself a thrilling and fun 98 minutes.” Frightday

“Kavanagh is an exciting filmmaker and it’s a shame it’s been this long between ventures. Son hits in so many emotional spectrums and somehow does so with impact in each. It’s not easy to craft a story that scares you or a story that pokes at your heart and somehow Kavanagh does both. Tearjerking and terrifying, Son is a must watch.” Ghastly Grinning

“Kavanagh’s screenplay follows some familiar beats, but his direction and the atmosphere he builds in Son more than make up for that. The pacing is near-perfect, from the film’s gripping opening to its incredibly creepy final scene. Piers McGrail’s splendid cinematography and Aza Hand’s chilling score and sound design all help to create an amazingly eerie vibe.” Horror Fuel

” …Son is an otherwise potent and enjoyable social horror-thriller from a competent director working with a strong cast. It’s a bit paint-by-numbers but the resulting picture is pleasing to the eye and intriguing, particularly as it pertains to themes of lingering trauma, the human psyche, and what it means to be a woman speaking truth in a world controlled by men.” Killer Horror Critic

” …without being too heavy-handed, Grant and Kermani do make some provocative connections between the ways women are treated in classic horror pictures and the ways some are treated in real life: as victims by nature, who should feel “lucky” just to be alive. As the filmmakers dial in tighter on those keen observations, their movie gets more and more chilling.” Los Angeles Times

“Matichak’s performance helps to maintain the film’s emotional core, while Kavanagh goes about finding new, gory, and disturbing ways to surprise us. That balance works. We’re invested in these characters, undergoing some very real pain and doubt amidst the hidden and direct horrors of the story…” Mark Reviews Movies

“It’s all very well put together, with Kavanagh and cinematographer Piers McGrail drawing on ’80s genre cinema with their neon-tinged colour scheme, and Matichak gets the chance to show her acting chops in a far meatier role than that afforded her as the forgettable heroine of the recent Halloween reboot. But it all feels too familiar. We’ve seen this sort of thing before, just not played out in such a dour fashion.” The Movie Waffler

” …it’s hard to overstate how lame the pool of jump scares undercuts the mother/son redemption story. Their quest for salvation drives the movie and watching them attempt to mend a broken past and preserve a better future (despite the iffy execution) is more than what most horror thrillers accomplish. Still, Son is a mixed bag that keeps you invested…” The Only Critic

Son is a tense thrill ride that explodes with a mother’s love for her son. Whether what she sees is real or not, Laura will do whatever it takes to protect her child from any impending danger. There’s plenty of blood and special FX to gross out most horror fans, and the chemistry between Andi Matichak and Luke David Blumm is tangible.” Pop Horror

” …Son is gripping, tense, bloody, and distinctly dark. Laura’s fear, desperation, and pain when watching her son’s malady were all incredibly effective, made more so by more than able direction, reinforced by persistently strong sound design […] Everything we see could be “real” and maybe reality was viewed through a lens of what all three main characters expected to see: either way, it works.” Ready Steady Cut

“Ivan Kavanagh – whose previous film The Canal was another impressive slow-burn horror movie – does a fine job of building the paranoid tension here and constantly pulling the rug from under us. The film starts off as a conspiracy horror movie before slipping into gory – very gory – body horror and finally working its way towards occult horror. The positing of the Satanic Panic as having validity is a bit dubious, even if the film does try to have its cake and eat it, and I’ll admit to finding the ending a bit of a let-down…” The Reprobate

“It’s easy to make audiences squirm in their seats when pushing buttons is your goal, but that’s not exactly praiseworthy when your movie’s also ostensibly about what can’t be seen. Ambiguity, like gore, isn’t meaningful unto itself, nor are the movie’s solid but unremarkable performances deep enough to warrant viewers’ emotional investment.”

“The manhunt undertaken for Laura does lead to some niggling plausibility issues […] That’s only a minor distraction, though, in a movie that otherwise keeps us tense (composer/sound designer Aza Hand’s shivery soundscapes are another major asset), guessing and most of all concerned for Laura on her odyssey through a very bloody heartland.” Rue Morgue

“Laura’s journey to rediscover the truth about her own childhood, as part of a demonic cult, gives full rein to the sleaziest impulses of the design department. Flyblown motels and the deranged décor of damaged cult-survivors forms the backdrop for the rest of the story […] The film’s final twist is somewhat less persuasive and effective than the relentless grimness of the picture’s oppressive atmosphere.” Screen Daily

” …while Son does not offer a narrative that is new or groundbreaking, the nightmarish thriller manages to evoke a palpable sense of dread and unease via creepy flashbacks, eerie lighting, and genuine emotional stakes. Apart from this, the film does not rely overtly on jump scares, although a few are scattered far out in interesting ways, which only adds to the appeal of the narrative.” Screen Rant

Son is twisty, violent, well-crafted and cast enough to easily hold viewer attention. At the same time, a story this baroque, involving a child possibly “fathered” by a literal demon, ought to make a stronger overall impression than Kavanagh’s poker-faced yet uneven treatment manages.” Variety

“It’s done well enough, and a lot of people will be quite happy with it. But given what had gone before and the talent involved I was expecting the unexpected. And that’s too bad because Son is well made from a technical perspective, with some nice lighting and atmospheric camerawork that helps raise the film’s creep factor. The performances are all good as well.” Voices from the Balcony


RLJE Films initially released Son theatrically, On-Demand and Digital on March 5th 2021. It was then released by RLJE Films on DVD and Blu-ray on May 18, 2021. The film will stream on Shudder from July 8, 2021.

In the UK, Acorn Media International will release Son on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on 11 October 2021.

Cast and characters:

Emile Hirsch … Paul
Andi Matichak … Laura
Luke David Blumm … David
Erin Bradley Dangar … Susan
Rocco Sisto … Doctor Bradlee
Kristine Nielsen … Mrs Naegle
Wanetah Walmsley … ICU Nurse
Ethan McDowell … Doctor Lundberg
Cranston Johnson Cranston Johnson … Steve
David Kallaway … Pimp
Garrett Kruithof … Deutsch
Blaine Maye … Jimmy Naegle
Adam Stephenson … Steve Walker
Matthew Sean Blumm … Paramedic
Britton Webb … First Policeman

Technical details:

98 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1




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