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Ivan Kavanagh
Andi Matichak, Emile Hirsch, Luke David Blumm
Ivan Kavanagh

When a young boy contracts a mysterious illness, his mother must decide how far she will go to protect him from terrifying forces in her past.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 5/18/2021

• Cast/Crew Interviews
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


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Son [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 25, 2021)

When we last saw director Ivan Kavanagh, he led 2019’s Never Grow Old, a flick I described as a “largely inert Western”. Kavanagh returns with 2021’s Son, a horror/thriller that I hope to view as something better than “inert”.

Laura (Andi Matichak) grew up in a cult but managed to escape eight years earlier. She did so while pregnant, and now she raises son David (Luke David Blumm) on her own.

Laura’s past comes back to haunt her when cult members attempt to assault David - maybe, as a lack of concrete evidence means Laura may simply have imagined this event.

However, David soon becomes seriously ill, and doctors can’t deduce the cause of his ailment. Laura needs to confront both the mysterious cause of these disorders as well as how to protect her child.

At the start of the review, I implied that my prior experience with Kavanagh’s work took me into Son with fairly low expectations. Whether or not this impacted my impression of Son remains up for grabs, but I can say at least that it rises above the aforementioned status of an “inert” film.

Actually, Son works pretty well for much of its running time, primarily because Kavanagh leaves a lot of the story’s truth vague. Many movies attempt narratives that walk a line between literal and imagined events, and most fail, as the majority tip one way too clearly.

Son does this by its finale as well, so don’t expect it to leave matters unclear. By the conclusion, we pretty firmly learn whether or not Laura imagined all the insanity she claims to see.

This concrete ending disappoints me a bit, but it doesn’t surprise me, and I feel pleased that Kavanagh keeps matters as tough to nail down for as long as he does. Much of Son passes with a tone that truly leaves the viewer uncertain about the reality of events, and I take that as a positive.

Kavanagh also manages an unsettling tone that works. Sure, he throws out a few too many gratuitous “scare moments”, but he still contributes a genuine feeling of unease that keeps the viewer on edge.

A good cast helps. Probably best known as Laurie Strode’s granddaughter in the 2018 Halloween sequel, Matichak commits to her part and gives Laura a nice sense of tottering sanity as well as devotion to her son. Blumm also handles his role’s various challenges well and adds believability to the troubled David.

Son falters mainly because it so obviously evokes more famous horror predecessors. Among other flicks, it doesn’t require an expert eye to see the strong influence of both The Exorcist and The Omen on these proceedings.

Still, Son avoids the scent of overt ripoff and manages to become its own film. No one will see this as a horror classic, but it becomes an above average genre effort.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Son appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a mostly appealing presentation.

Overall sharpness appeared good. A few slightly soft shots occasionally occurred, but they remained minor, so most of the flick offered pretty positive delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and I also noticed no edge haloes nor print flaws.

In terms of palette, Son went with fairly chilly sense of teal and amber. Nothing about the hues stood out, but they seemed fine for this production, and a few instances of more dynamic tones satisfied.

Blacks appeared fairly full and dense, while low-light shots gave us mostly good clarity. Some shadows could seem a bit thick, but those elements usually worked fine. In general, I felt pleased with the transfer.

The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack accentuated the material. Most of the livelier moments related to the occasional scare elements, and we got enough of those to fill out the spectrum reasonably well. Otherwise, the film emphasized quiet ambience and provided pretty positive integration.

Sound quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech came across as crisp and natural. The mix seemed to be satisfactory.

Under Interviews with the Cast and Crew of Son, we get… interviews with the cast and crew of Son. During this four-minute, 45-second piece, we hear from writer/director Ivan Kavanagh and actors Andi Matichak, Luke Blumm, and Emile Hirsch.

The program looks at the project’s inspirations as well as story/characters and cast/performances. A few nuggets of info emerge but this remains a pretty superficial overview.

Eight Deleted Scenes span a total of six minutes, 14 seconds. That number feels a bit deceptive, as most of the clips actually form one sequence, a flashback to Laura’s past.

Those seem interesting but a bit superfluous, mainly because they spell out too much. The other clips don’t offer much, though.

The disc opens with ads for The Dark and the Wicked, The Pale Door and The Owners. No trailer for Son appears here.

Though it wears its influences on its sleeve, Son nonetheless manages to become a reasonably effective horror tale. Aided by a good cast and a refusal to spell out matters too blatantly, the film keeps us engaged and off-guard. The Blu-ray comes with fairly appealing picture and audio but it lacks substantial supplements. This turns into a pretty solid horror flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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