The Good Son is one of those terrifying psycho kid movies, and these are precisely the kind of pics that scare the living daylights out of me. How does a grown man go about preventing a determined and extremely troubled kid from wreaking havoc in his life? Children carry a number of get-out-of-jail-free cards, but all the cards in the world won’t get Macaulay Culkin’s character, Henry Evans, off the hook for the horrific acts he takes part in during this film.
Things don’t go tell Hell in a hand-basket for Elijah Woods’ character, Mark Evans, until he’s forced to live (temporarily) with his aunt, uncle and oh-so charming cousin (yeah, that’s Culkin I’m referring to). Initially things seem to be average American living, but the more comfortable that Henry gets with Mark, the clearer reality becomes. Henry is a trouble maker (psychopath?) of the worst order, and he begins manipulating key situations in order to frame Mark for the evil doings that Henry orchestrates. Eventually, it all comes down to mental health issues and a pair of boys desperately fighting for a mother’s attention. But Mark, being just a nephew, will have a mighty hard time convincing his aunt and uncle that he’s not the monster that’s suddenly surfaced in the house. That title goes to their very own boy.
I loved this flick a few decades ago, and it still works exceptionally well for me. Both Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood deliver riveting performances. These youngsters perform with the finesse of life long thespians, and that’s a huge part of what elevates The Good Son above so many other similar themed films. It’s hard to find child actors as polished as these two.
If you’re looking for a really creepy, often heartbreaking story about familial tragedies and mounting terror, then look into The Good Son. The film is well-written, beautifully shot and organic enough to leave audiences engrained in what they’re seeing. And for those who feel as though they’ve seen this before, on more than one occasion, I’d recommend discarding that opinion, the dynamic between Henry and Mark is amazing, and Mark’s reactions to some of the things his aunt and uncle do are brilliant; Wood looked like a child who had truly walked through the fire, figuratively speaking.
And now, onto those bonus supplements…
Seeds of Evil: The Making of The Good Son gives as plenty of insight from Director Joseph Ruben and Director of Photography, John Lindley (who for the record have worked together on multiple occasions, including the superb psychological piece, The Stepfather). Ruben shares plenty of his background and the manner in which he got into the business. He also delves into The Good Son, and admits that his curiosity was quite piqued when he learned that child phenom, Macaulay Culkin was onboard.
Ruben’s thorough examination of the film is excellent – this is the kind of interview one really hopes for. And John Lindley, director of photography on the film also does a great job of bringing up a few points that may have slipped Ruben’s mind. Either way, both men come together to give us some real knowledge bombs and answer a lot of production questions that – longtime fans – have no doubt pondered!
Another fine featurette, Meet the Parents: gives us Interviews with Actors Wendy Crewson & Daniel Hugh Kelly. They both speak nice and candidly, and it’s obvious that Kelly wasn’t the biggest fan of a taboo climax. He was however, happy with the over-all package, it seems.
Crewson also feeds us a few things that outsiders may not actually know, like the fact that her character, Susan Evans, almost went to Mary Steenburgen. We also learn that director Joseph Ruben was a very meticulous individual who succeeded in his decision to stand firm and make sure the film was made as he envisioned it.
Father Knows Best: An Interview with actor David Morse kicks off with some quality info right off the bat, as he informs us that Gary Sinise didn’t want to shoot the film, so Morse got the call, and he made the best of it. He’s top notch as the troubled father trying to build a future for his son.
Morse is a warm guy, and he issues a wealth of praise for his young co-stars. Everything about the man just oozes appreciation and respect. And that in turn makes it easy to respect him.
Beyond the interviews we do get some trailers, which are cool, but nothing too special. It’s a good thing the other supplements are quite rewarding.