A Spawn of Darkness: Son (2021) - Reviewed

images courtesy Shudder
The demon spawn genre has seen a recent resurgence over the last few years that has seen the influence of classics like Rosemary's Baby take center stage all over again. Starting with 2014's Starry Eyes and numerous others that connect the darkest dots to a better time in horror, the presence of evil has taken the forefront in much of the genre. Whether it be big budget fare or smaller indie releases, the devil continues to be a central focus when it comes to modern scare tactics. 

Paying tribute to a plethora of horror classics, this month sees another new take on the sub-genre with the brand new cult based horror film, Son. Director Ivan Kavanagh (Never Grow Old) attempts to create an updated vision that cuts deep into modern themes of cult programming, childhood abuse, and the dark corridors of the mind. With a cast that revels in the material they're working with, Kavanagh uses a short run time of just over ninety minutes to deliver something that definitely borders on spectacular, even when it falters with unneeded sub-plots and story lines.  

Starring the ousted Emile Hirsch as a wayward police officer and Andi Matichak as the mother of the flesh eating devil boy, we're given a dark number that relies heavily on practical gore effects and a nearly gothic spin on the classic tale of evil unleashed upon our world. Lying somewhere between the cult dynamic of Hereditary, the youthful terror of The Babadook, and the road weary science fiction flick Midnight Special, this is a  story of personal hell that takes place between a mother and her young son as they travel a path to personal hell in a beat up, blood soaked clunker. 

Going in with lowered expectations, this is one of those releases that uses limited resources to full effect. Its obvious budgetary shortcomings are made up for with excellent acting and dedication to the story at hand. Also, its visual effects are astounding. With so many of these films hitting streaming services like Shudder, it sometimes becomes overwhelming due to the overabundance of content to watch.
Son is that diamond in the rough that definitely needs to be seen. Much like last year's The Dark and the Wicked, things just happen. We're never given too much of a back story. As we've said hundreds of times, what exists in the darkness doesn't always need an explanation or development. A little mystery never hurt anyone. That's where this really succeeds. 

Kavanagh currently has ten directing credits to his name. This is his second horror release beyond 2014's The Canal. This latest project shows a positive momentum for a creator in a world where smaller movies are being given limited promotion and very little attention. As a horror connoisseur, Son ventured to those areas I'd like to see more of. It blurs the fine line between reality and darkness while bringing us a story of pain and suffering that will see no happy ending.