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The Good Son - Blu-ray Review

2 beersElijah Wood and Macaulay Culkin are going to be BFFs until the end of time.  At least, that’s the plan until it all goes incredibly insane thanks to the wicked antics of Culkin’s bratty character in 1993’s The Good Son.  Culkin, who was all of 12 years old at the time, finds himself playing the villain.  That shit has to hit a child hard … as well as the movie, which was plagued with production issues.

The Good Son is not a great movie; it’s not even a good one.  Yet, Kino Studio Classics has seen fit to release it on blu-ray in spite of itself.  That’s okay.  The thriller has its moments, namely coming from the unsettling performance from Home Alone’s (or was that Michael Jackson’s?) Macaulay Culkin.  While it might suffer from one-note syndrome it’s probably the only real reason we care to revisit this title.  

You could easily argue (and I would listen) that the young Elijah Wood, who clearly understands the material better, is the true star of this kid-centered thriller.  He’s remarkably skilled at bringing some believability to the drama.  It’s Culkin’s performance; however, that keeps B-movie fanatics coming back.

So two rising child actors are leading the charge in The Good Son.  Directed by Sleeping with the Enemy’s Joseph Ruben and written by novelist Ian McEwan, the film first centers itself around the grief-stricken character of Mark Evans (Wood) in the American southwest.  We are quickly whisked away to the bitter cold of the northeast, though, as one kid’s world gets knocked off its course due to an unexpected death.

I forgot the film even started in the southwest as there are some awesome and awe inspiring landscapes that run up at you at the beginning of the film, suggesting that there will be some poetry of significance in what transpires in the movie.  Desert vistas as far as the eye can see.  And there’s Wood staring out into the distance.  And, truly, some of the shots are where this one earns its high marks.  Thanks to John Lindley’s eye, the film is quite beautiful to look at.

If only everything else in The Good Son matched his keen eye.  Unfortunately, only the ending provides the gut punch the rest of the film needed.  And if all the stories about working alongside the Culkin family are to be believed (they should be), then I’ll bet there are some real HORROR stories about the making of this one.

In the story, it is a sad coincidence of unrelated items that causes Wood’s character to blame himself for the loss of his mother.  His father (David Morse), running away from all responsibility, drops his grieving son off with his brother’s family in the Northeast as he journeys to Tokyo on a business trip.  You’ll get over it in time, is the message that is communicated to his bawling son.  Ouch.

Things don’t get better.  We are introduced to Culkin’s Henry character as he runs through the house wearing a Halloween mask.  He’s a monster.  Get it?  And truly, there are few brats like him on film.  Of course, The Bad Seed did it better.  From the doll hanging by a noose in his shed to the questions surrounding the passing of his younger brother, Henry is one hell of a fucked up mess.  He even growls at dogs and tries to drown his sister. 

And the amount of trouble the boys get into together – including the unforgettable moment when they drop a dummy from an overpass into the traffic below to see what chaos can be caused – is so large that it’s a wonder that the (always) wide-eyed (and much kinder) Mark doesn’t drop him sooner.  Instead, the shit keeps piling up around the duo until things reach a very dramatic breaking point, in one of the film’s best moments high atop a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

Maybe, as Henry suggests in the movie when Mark begins to question his violent pranks, I just don’t know how to have fun.  Do you?

The Good Son has been delivered.


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The Good Son - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for acts of violence and terror involving a disturbed child.
87 mins
: Joseph Ruben
Ian McEwan
Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood, Wendy Crewson
: Horror | Thriller
Evil has many faces.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm sorry, Mom. We were playing this really dumb game. We weren't fighting. We were just playing. Weren't we, Mark?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 24, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 1, 2017
Synopsis: Evil Has Many Faces! Evil resides in an unexpected place in this gripping, suspense-filled drama, written by Ian McEwan (Atonement) and directed by Joseph Ruben (The Stepfather, Sleeping with the Enemy). Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone) stars as Henry, an angelic-looking boy who seems loving and loyal to his parents, sister and friends. Only his cousin Mark (Elijah Wood, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) sees what lurks behind Henry's smile - secret thoughts and a love of deadly sadistic games. But when Mark tries to warn Henry's family, they won't believe him, leaving the terrified youngster alone to battle his jealous, menacing cousin.


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The Good Son - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition
Home Video Distributor:
Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- August 1, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Kino Studio Classics present The Good Son on 1080p with the minimum of effort.  It looks fairly colorless – especially with some of those landscape views.  The image truly only comes to life with the brightness of the snow.  Black levels are weak, too.  Details, while solid, are never bombastic.  All of this suggests that there was no visual upgrade to the release from previous versions.  Presented with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and a 2.0 DTS-HD sound mix, the blu-ray transfer is adequate for the content in the movie.



  • None

Special Features:

I love it when the supplemental features are more interesting than the movie itself.  That’s the case with this release, especially when director Joseph Ruben and cinematographer John Lindley get 23 minutes to defend their film.  Actress Wendy Crewson dishes the dirt on the challenge with working alongside the Culkin’s – namely his father – and Daniel Hugh Kelly talks about being cast in the movie and his memory of the shoot.  Morse, who is barely in the film, talks about Gary Sinise dropping out and the location of the shoot.  A theatrical trailer is included, too.

  • Interview with Director Joseph Ruben
  • Interview with actor Wendy Crewson
  • Interview with actor Daniel Hugh Kelly
  • Interview with actor David Morse
  • Interview with Cinematographer John Lindley
  • Trailers


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The Good Son - Blu-ray Review