The Good Son (1993) **
D: Joseph Ruben
C: Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood, Wendy Crewson, David Morse, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Jacqueline Brookes, Quinn Kay Culkin, Ashley Crow
Plot Synopsis: Following his mother's death, Mark is sent to Maine to visit his aunt and uncle while his father goes on a business trip to Tokyo. Mark meets his cousin, Henry, and the two quickly form a friendship. However, Henry begins to show signs of violent behavior that worry Mark.
Review: In the first two Home Alone films, Macaulay Culkin was a kid who engaged in mischievous behavior, but that didn't necessarily make him a bad kid. In fact, he was a good kid, at heart, who acted out in order to remind the members of his family that he was indeed a part of that family. In The Good Son, Macaulay Culkin plays yet another kid who engages in mischievous behavior, but this time around, his intent is far more sinister.
The makers of this film have cast Macaulay Culkin for one reason and one reason alone and that's to exploit the idea of this good hearted kid as an unredeemable psychopath. Back at the time, that this was made, this caused some minor controversy.
We watch as Culkin engages in diabolical behavior. He drops the F bomb. He shoots a dog. He drops a dummy off a bridge which causes a series of cars to crash into one another. The film asks, what's next? What other diabolical plans does this kid have on his agenda? They might as well have called this Henry: Portrait of a Soon to be Serial Killer.
While Henry was a legitimate picture that had audiences debating over things, The Good Son is an exploitation picture and nothing more, albeit an exploitation picture with an A-list star and professional production values. How much you enjoy this is a matter of taste. Ask yourself this -- How do you honestly feel about the casting of Macaulay Culkin, in a film, whose primary motive is to exploit the fact that this is a kid engaging in violence?
For me, personally, I have to admit that there's a certain curio factor in this and that some of the cheap thrills are quite effective, but watching The Good Son is like watching the aftermath of car crash. You look, even though you know you shouldn't. [R] 87 mins.
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