The Good Son (1993) Poster

(1993)

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8/10
Bad Reviews Indicate Really Frighting Concepts and not Bad Movie
cubsckc29 July 2014
I was actually really surprised at the ratings of the film, so I looked at many of the reviews before putting mine down. Maybe I was missing some pretty horrible aspects to the movie. So I watched the movie again and I read the reviews. I think one of the interesting things was that people rated this movie really low because they didn't like the concept of an evil child or they added, there was no WHY concept to the reasons why the character did the things he did.

I think I was mostly surprised at the "Why" concept. Did people really not understand that this kid felt really powerful controlling the fate of others? It was quite clear that the mean kid did not like being undermined. It was in my opinion very well introduced. At first, his enjoyment in his actions were very minor due to his first time. It seemed to me that the first time he performed his bad deeds to his brother, he might have actually been scarred or stunned. Because for a while when little Frodo enters the scene, nothing has actually happened to indicate he is a terrible child. Its not until his mother treats Frodo like her own child that Macually starts to use his will to force things the way he wants. I see similarities with how kids these days press their parents into getting what they want.

I think its important to recognize the scene where little Frodo goes to the therapist and asks her about why someone could be bad for no reason, just because he likes to be bad. I think this is where people kind of go, "yeah, this movie is flawed, there's no such thing." But remember, little Frodo wasn't looking down the staircase at his mother hugging another son. Its all about perspective. It can be concluded that the bad son is probably the spoiled child, and acts up in extreme ways to get what he wants because it worked before. We have two polar characters. One character is completely helpless and his fate is controlled by the other characters in this movie, where there is Culkin, whom has deep control of his life and his wants.

On another note, kids doing horrible things to animals or killing other kids is not a unheard of concept. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that there are certain mentalities that cannot be explained but diagnosed with mental disorders. People in our age have been brainwashed into thinking that kids are completely innocent in the world. Which is funny when you reflect how many times in your younger life you have laughed at someone and probably made them feel really bad, even though you didn't want to. As kids we actually hurt others more than we'd like to admit, we just choose not to admit it.
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7/10
"Hey, accidents will happen."
classicsoncall7 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Macaulay Culkin was merely a mischievous, eight year old troublemaker in 1990's "Home Alone", but here he pulls out all the stops and goes for the gusto as a nearly possessed evil little monster who believes taking out members of his own family is the ticket to a happier life. Quite honestly, Henry Evans (Culkin) seemed way too introspective beyond his years regarding human psychology. Having come to the conclusion that "...once you realize you can do anything, you're free" is not something a normal eleven year old would come up with. Then again, one could say he wasn't your average, normal eleven year old. Once the story gets really moving along, Henry does a serious gaslight job on his cousin Mark (Elijah Wood), so that everyone involved becomes sincerely worried about his mental status. That's curious by the way, that everyone in the story, including the boys themselves, refer to each other as friends instead of cousins. It's curious too, that when the camera shows you a long view of the Evans home in Maine that there aren't any nearby cliffs within walking distance to set up that questionable finale.
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7/10
Very well made psycho-thriller
Leofwine_draca3 July 2014
THE GOOD SON is one of many psycho-thrillers that were made in the early 1990s in the wake of the success of the likes of FATAL ATTACTION, BASIC INSTINCT and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE. Most of these could be easily categorised by the type of person who was the villain, i.e. 'bad cop' (UNLAWFUL ENTRY), 'bad neighbour' (PACIFIC HEIGHTS), 'bad husband' (SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY). THE GOOD SON is, as you'd guess from the title, about a bad kid.

Said kid is Macauley Culkin, a wonderful piece of casting against type by the producers. So long we've had to put up with Culkin in his sickly-sweet roles but here he portrays somebody very different indeed and, inevitably, this turns out to be the best performance of his career. Culkin is excellent, truly portraying a character beyond his years, and he helps to make the movie.

It helps that everything else is right, too. The script focuses on realism throughout, and there's plenty of characterisation to make the viewer feel truly grounded in the experience. Aside from the ending, things don't get over the top with the style or direction. There are a handful of set-pieces which really work (like the bit with the bridge), and some incredible stunt work that left me breathless, like the whole bit with the tree house. As somebody with a fear of heights, such moments turned my legs to jelly.

Elijah Wood made a point of appearing in plenty of twee kid's films during the 1990s (FREE WILLY anyone?) but this is one of his most interesting movies from that decade. David Morse is typically good as Wood's father. The script stays grounded throughout, the psychological insight is as interesting as the thriller aspects of the story, and it all finishes in a satisfying way that goes against Hollywood convention. Good stuff.
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10/10
A REAL CLIFF HANGER OF A FLICK !!
whpratt122 April 2004
This film kept my eyes glued to the screen from beginning to end. Macaulay Culkin,(Henry Evans),"Party Monsters",'03, gave one of his best performances and really showed his great talents which made you hate him through out the entire picture. Henry had to share his home with a young boy who had recently lost his mother and was in deep depression, he was the son of David Morse,(Jack),"Hack",TV Series, 02, who had to leave him with his brothers family. All hell breaks loose after the two young boys get to know each other. If you viewed the film the "Bad Seed", you will have some idea what the story is about. It is a real nail biting film and makes you crazy trying to figure out just how the story will END! If you love Macaulay Culkin, this is his best FILM !
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6/10
Dark insight into sociopathic children
cosmic_quest27 March 2006
I think part of the reason why 'The Good Son' is barely remembered is because it deals with a side to humanity that no-one really wants to accept in that not all children are sweet little innocents, pure as the driven snow. It's not very comfortable watching a film that shows sociopaths-- people born without the ability to feel guilt and empathise with others-- are born, not made and their dangerous traits are apparent even in childhood. 'The Good Son' revolves around Mark, a motherless boy of twelve who is sent to stay with his Uncle Wallace, Aunt Susan and two cousins, twelve-year-old Henry and six-year-old Connie. At first, Mark revels in the visit that takes his mind off his recent bereavement but he soon starts to realise that Henry is a sociopath whose parents are blind to his dark, violent side. It is a film that pulls no punches in just how malevolent Henry is and how easily he will pick off anyone who dares to interfere with his twisted sense of fun.

Macaulay Culkin was excellent as the angelic-looking Henry whose boyish cuteness hide his true nature and his performance here proves he could have been one of the few child actors who graduated into a successful young adult actor had his personal life not been such a mess. It really was chilling seeing the child I was so used to seeing in comedies being so emotionally cold. But it is Elijah Wood's Mark who gives the film heart. Young Wood, only eleven years old when he filmed this, delivered a great performance as a young boy faced with the awful truth and desperate to stop Henry while juggling his grief over losing his mother. The scene where Mark is convinced Henry has poisoned the food is a perfect example of how Wood portrayed Mark's desperation, hysteria and helplessness in the face of his cousin's evil.

However, one of the flaws of the film is that is a bit choppy, jumping from scene-to-scene without giving you a feel for the other characters, which is a shame because this is one film where you do need to have an understanding of just how Henry's nature affects all those around him and how he gets away with it all. I read the novelisation of the film by Todd Strasser before seeing the film so it's all the more noticeable for me. The book not only gives greater insight into Mark's budding fraternal friendship with Connie and his need to seek a mother in Susan but it also shows Susan's growing awareness to the monster Henry is and how she feels when she is made to choose between Mark and her murderous child.

Overall, this film is enjoyable enough for a psychological thriller (although a few TV detective shows have done this idea in a slicker way) and it is nice to see a film that doesn't take a softly-softly attitude when dealing with the matter of children who kill. However, the ending was a bit of a cop-out as there could have been so many other avenues to explore had things ended differently for Henry (what should be done with sociopathic children? How do decent, loving families deal with such a child?). Those who do expect a bit more from their films will probably be disappointed.
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7/10
Good thriller
gridoon20236 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It must have taken some balls to make "The Good Son" - a change-of-pace if there ever was one - right at the peak of Macaulay Culkin's popularity as a wholesome, family-friendly child star, but the gamble paid off: this movie has held up very well over the years. Fluidly directed by the unheralded Joseph Ruben, with sweeping camera work and a vivid sense of place that makes the location another character, with a script that builds the suspense gradually towards a memorable cliffhanger (literally) of a climax, and further aided by a rich music score by the legendary Elmer Bernstein, this is one of the most successful thrillers of its era. Culkin is surprisingly good at being bad (and amoral, and manipulative), Elijah Wood is just as solid, and Wendy Crewson is the mother any (normal!) son would like to have. *** out of 4.
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6/10
Bad boy
jotix10022 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Henry, the angelic looking boy, lives with his parents in a beautiful suburban East coast home. His cousin Mark, from Arizona, who has just lost his mother, is invited to come and spend some time with his uncle's Wallace family. What Mark doesn't know is he is leaving one difficult situation back home, but he is not coming to a happy environment. Henry's little brother has died drowned in his bathtub, and Susan, his mother is still grieving his death.

When a series of little accidents begin to happen, Mark is blamed for them. After all, Henry, who looks as though he can't do any harm, will never be thought as the culprit. It's Susan, the mother, who discovers the truth after going to Henry's shed where he keeps most of his secrets.

Although the film is predictable, director Joseph Ruben has given it a look that keeps the viewer interested in what's happening. The screen play is by Ian McEwan, an excellent writer.

Macauley Culkin was at the height of his early film career and he makes a great Henry Evans. Elijah Wood is seen as Mark, the visiting cousin who is horrified by what he finds in his new home. Wendy Crewson plays Susan, the grieving mother. David Morse, a wonderful actor, doesn't have much to do as Mark's father.

Watch the film without any expectations and it will reward you.
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'Good' movie!
jellyneckr16 July 2001
I saw THE GOOD SON on television a while ago and since then I have rented several times. It seems each time it gets more and more thrilling. It's the first movie I've seen where I was actually scared of the bad character, Henry [Macaulay Culkin] and the first movie I've seen where I find myself routing for the good character, Mark [Elijah Wood]. See, normally I don't get too involved in the movies I'm watching, but with THE GOOD SON, it's impossible not to! This is one of Macaulay Culkin's best movies [and one of his last movies].
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9/10
There's nothing I'd change about this film. This is an underrated gem
kevin_robbins29 October 2021
The Good Son (1993) is a movie I recently rewatched on Tubi. The storyline follows a young man who recently lost his mother. His father needs to go on a business trip and thinks it would be good for the boy to stay with his aunt and uncle and their two kids near his age. The young boy of the aunt and uncle has some curiosities that ar first seem fun to both cousins but get morbid quick. This movie is directed by Joseph Ruben (Dreamscape) and stars Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone), Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), David Morse (The Green Mile) and Wendy Crewson (Air Force One). The storyline for this is absolutely brilliant and perfectly delivered. The character development for both families is well established. The cast delivers awesome performances, especially Wood and Culkin. The script is very good and helps establish how menacing and ruthless Culkin is in the film. The action scenes are excellent and as ruthless as Culkin's dialogue. The is a film you get mesmerized by the characters and understand how the truth would be impossible to believe by the parents only making matters worse. The conclusion of this film is classic and sheer perfection. There's nothing I'd change about this film. This is an underrated gem I'd score a 9/10.
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6/10
Good suspense thriller.
paulclaassen3 May 2020
I have such fond memories of seeing this when I was much younger. I'm so glad to see my opinion of the movie remains unchanged having seen it again after such a long time.

Elijah Wood and Macaulay Culkin are very good in their respective roles. Culkin was an interesting choice as the psychopathic, evil child, as he was famous for portraying the 'cute kid' at the time. The film casually sets up the scene, and then slowly but surely reveals itself for what it really is. Evil presents itself in the form of a kid, making it even more sinister.

Every action is justified by a counter action. It's also believable that no-one believes Mark (Wood), considering what he's been through. This is a carefully thought out, well written script that builds to a nerve-wrecking finale.
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7/10
A good sign
Spleen23 July 1999
In many ways this is just a standard thriller. How I loathe the word "thriller". It suggests roller-coasters; and the genre it denotes, at its best, deals in quiet tension. Where was I? Yes: standard thriller. A is really an evil person, intent on performing great harm in the future; B knows this but can't convince anyone else. I heard that sigh. But make A and B children, on the verge of adolescence, and not only is this tired formula invigorated, but it makes a great deal more sense. (Especially if B is in the slightly awkward position of a cousin on an extended visit.) The creaky old scenes where B goes to the police and either he is strangely incoherent or the police are strangely obtuse, are gone. There is now a perfectly good reason why B can't go to the police, or indeed anyone. Nor is there anything strange about the obtuseness of A's parents. The rotten adult seems so commonplace that we scarcely bat an eyelid; the rotten child, who is in fact far more commonplace, we like to pretend doesn't exist.

So I'm glad Hollywood took this step. I also, for the most part, like the way the step has been taken. B has no accomplices - he must battle A alone - and his plight is keenly felt. There's an air of plausibility about it all. Elijah Wood is an unusually good boy, Macaulay Culkin is an unusually bad boy; both look perfectly real. (Wood, who has the harder task, does especially well.)

The climax - or what is meant to be the climax - is HIGHLY contrived. It will probably come as a shock that the writers chose something at once so obvious and so ludicrous. The mood of the audience I saw this with - it may just have been my mood - was one of grudging acceptance, granted only because we had been treated so well in the events leading up to it.
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9/10
Scary
LeThAlWeApOn3896 July 2003
This movie was a pretty freaky movie. I mean, I doubt anyone was in that type of situation. But let me tell you, this was the best acting I've seen from a kid besides Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense. It was really scary. I really enjoyed watching this movie and I think it is a classic horror film.
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7/10
Not A Bad Little Thriller
Scars_Remain28 July 2008
I've heard about this movie for years but I have never decided to check it out until this past weekend. I thought it was going to be average 90's crap with not much going for it at all. I was wrong and I'm glad I was. It was actually very creepy and atmospheric with a lot of very intense scenes and fantastic build ups.

Macaulay Culkin is very good as the disturbed son. I thought that Wood was great as well and the rest of the cast was pretty good but some of the parents' roles were a little iffy. I thought the story was well done and interesting and most of all, kept me entertained.

This is a movie that would go good on a rainy afternoon. It's not brilliant but it is interesting and pretty creepy.
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Macaulay Culkin's best performance and film.
Dale-3127 October 1998
This is Macaulay Culkin's best film. He was very creepy as the young boy with a black heart. The dialogue was great. I truly admired the performance of Elijah Wood, emerging as one of the best young actors around. This film has so much suspense, by the end, I was very exhausted.
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Some excellent bits
hitchs11 January 2002
An interesting idea: parents having to deal with a psychopathic child. Believe it or not, such a situation is not uncommon. And Culkin does an excellent job. His coolness, his sudden changes of approach without any apparent shifting of gears, his complete lack of emotional reaction - which have been interpreted by some reviewers as poor acting - are actually very realistic. Personally, I find his calm and apparently effortless demeanour more frightening than the ravings of the lunatics in many other horror films.

Unfortunately, the plot lacks all credibility. Certainly psychopaths are excellent con-men (in fact, they are the most typical con-men) but it is absurd to believe that a child like this could have covered his tracks so well that his parents do not even suspect that there is something wrong with him. Even more ridiculous is that his behaviour towards his little sister - whom he hates enough to try to kill her - has been so good in the past that she trusts him completely. The cliches of the over-dramatic ending are also a bit much. A pity, because there is much of value in the film.
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7/10
What if 'Kevin McCallister' became evil?
Atreyu_II5 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
We all know that the character Kevin McCallister gets angry with his family twice and that he makes lives miserable for the bandits Harry and Marv. Kevin is, however, a good kid. This is what Kevin could be like if he was evil. Why do I say this? Because the diabolic kid of this film is portrayed by the same boy, Macaulay Culkin. If Kevin was like this, he would have killed his family and Harry and Marv...

Ironically, the movie's title refers precisely to Culkin's character instead of Elijah Wood's character (who really is the good son). And why is that? Put it this way: because that's the image his family and people in general have of him and because they don't know his disturbing nature.

Mac shows his other side as an actor - that is, his "dark side". And he is excellent as Henry, a child who can be described as a sociopath, a psychopath, a cold-blooded murderer and mentally ill. Henry is also a perfect actor - he manages to keep his true nature in secret because of his angelical looks and apparent love and respect for the family and others. This is a completely different role for Mac, setting it apart from the others and leaving behind his 'Home Alone' image.

Mac, who we are more used to see as a comedy actor with a beautiful smile, here he does some extremely cold facial expressions of dark jealousy. His character Henry also displays aggressive and violent behavior, as we see in some scenes.

Elijah Wood is great as Mark. Here we see a younger Elijah Wood (when he was a kid), years before 'becoming' Frodo Baggins. Elijah was a cute kid too. Quinn Culkin is equally good as Connie and she was cute too.

This film is quite short, which is a good thing. But it shares the same problem of 'Mikey': we never really get to know how did Henry become so bad. We have an idea when he says «It was mine before it was his» (refering to the rubber duck) and that he became very jealous of his brother Richard and killed him, but is that all? I doubt that's all.

It's always shocking to see a child doing the horrible things that Henry does, but this movie is considerably less violent comparing to 'Mikey'. Henry is also less dangerous than Mikey, but don't get me wrong - that doesn't mean that Henry isn't dangerous - he is. It's like they say for this movie - «Evil has many faces» - and the headline for 'Mikey' could be applied here as well - «With evil, size doesn't matter».

The ending is an unexpected surprise for those who watch this for the first time. Henry pays for all his crimes by being dropped off a high cliff and then we see his dead body being swept away by the sea waves.

The soundtrack is entirely instrumental and consists of beautiful and soft pieces of music. Plus, the sceneries of this movie are a must. We see many beautiful settings and landscapes full of snow (this takes place somewhere in Winter time). Not to mention that Henry's house is lovely.

Overall, an okay movie, but not one with enough attributes to become a "classic".
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6/10
"If I let you go, do you think you could fly?"
Hey_Sweden17 February 2020
Young Mark (Elijah Wood) is reeling from the recent death of his beloved mother (Ashley Crow), and although he doesn't want to do it, his dad Jack (David Morse) leaves him in the care of relatives. Marks' uncle Wallace (Daniel Hugh Kelly) and aunt Susan (Wendy Crewson) are good people, but unfortunately they've sired a monster, Marks' sociopathic cousin Henry (Macaulay Culkin). Henry spends most of the movie convincing every adult in sight that he's this perfect little angel, while in reality he's a cold-blooded creep who does nasty things for fun. As a viewer can see, Henry IS a master manipulator.

This has been referred to by wits over the years as "Kit Culkins' The Good Son", due to the fact that Macs' father was a truly vile "stage parent" who demanded that his son headline this feature, otherwise no Mac in "Home Alone 2". While one would feel sympathy for Mac, having to live with a father like that, the fact remains that Mac is too bland as this 1990s male update of "The Bad Seed", failing to project any real menace. Wood is far and away the better actor, and is more appealing, to boot. The adults are fine - if playing characters who expectedly remain clueless until near the end. Macs' sister Quinn plays his sibling (in her only film role); his younger brother Rory (who's had his own decent acting career) can be seen in a key photograph. Crewson has the most interesting moment to work with in the film, as she must make a choice at the finale.

The film is capably guided by Joseph Ruben, who replaced the original director after that person left the project. Ruben of course had experience with a familial-themed thriller, the memorable 1980s sleeper "The Stepfather". He just doesn't have a star as commanding as Terry O'Quinn here.

All in all, this isn't a total waste of time. It moves QUICK, cutting right to the meat & potatoes of Ian McEwans' script, and runs a mere 87 minutes. It also has a lovely Elmer Bernstein score and excellent photography (John Lindley was the D.P., Peter Norman the camera operator). If you think you might enjoy this, don't be put off by the R rating, which seems to have been earned for one simple F-bomb uttered by Mac; violence and gore are minimal. It's filmed at breathtaking locations that are mostly in Massachusetts.

A classic case of "could have been better, could have been worse".

Six out of 10.
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Good. Dark. Realistic.
faithmbc20 July 2003
This is one of my favorite movies. Macaulay Culkin was excellent in this. The Good Son is about Mark(Elijah Wood), a young boy suffering in the recent loss of his mother, going to visit his aunt, uncle, and two cousins in Maine while his dad takes a business trip to Tokyo. Cousin Henry Evans(Macaulay Culkin) is Mark's age and they soon become good friends and have loads of fun each day, but soon Mark starts to see another side of Henry when they start putting some of Henry's ideas into action, including throwing a dummy called Mr.Highway over an overpass that causes a huge multi car wreck and a big smile on Henry's face, and shooting a dog with a homemade gun. Mark starts to think Henry deliberatly tried to kill his liitle brother years ago, and is plotting to kill the rest of the family. This movie is a bit disturbing, but good all the same.

Rated R for Violence and Language.
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7/10
The Good Son was a good movie in my opinion. Still, it's no kid movie. .
ironhorse_iv2 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is one of my guilty pleasure. I just love the inner battle between two of the best child actors of the 1990's. Both, Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Woods are wonderful in the roles, they play in this film. Some critics might hate this movie because of the controversy of having the 1990's Home Alone play such an evil role. I didn't mind, because it's shows how great Macaulay Culkin can act. Who knew that the Home Alone kid could be so creepy? And the horrid part is that he looked so natural playing a scheming, serial-killing kid. Directed by Joseph Ruben, the movie starts with 12-year-old Mark Evan (Elijah Wood) having to move to Maine to stay with his Uncle Wallace (Daniel Hugh Kelly) and Aunt Susan (Wendy Crewson) after one of his parents has die, and the other is on an oversea trip. While, there he meets with their son, Henry (Macaulay Culkin). They slowly become good friends, but after a series of sinister acts by Henry, Mark starts to question their friendship as he thinks that Henry might be more dangerous than what he seems. Too bad, that none of the adults believe him. Elijah Wood is just amazing actor when he was younger. He is a winner early on in his career and the proof is in this role. His eyes convey such fear and concern that you really feel his performance is for real. The two stars have great chemistry together. They work with each other so well, I thought this story could have been a real life story. Trust me, why the movie might not seem real. I heard news stories of very evil children doing awful things to each other, without the adults knowing. So it's not so far fetch like some critics panned it to be. The settling in Maine, makes it seem like the movie was written by Stephen King. Surprising it wasn't. A tie-in novel was published alongside the movie's release in 1993, written by Todd Strasser. That explain more about Henry's backstory. The book also concludes differently from the movie that interesting to read. The screen writing by Ian McEwan might be a bit over the top and pretty exaggerated in the film. Even if a child is a sociopath, it still has a child's vocabulary, intelligence, etc. Just being a sociopath doesn't mean you sound like Hannibal Lecter right from the womb. Also, they tend to master the art of acting and sounding normal, which is how they make their way through life without people cluing in. Granted Henry is pretty young and may not have learned those skills yet, but this movie really stretches reality with how obviously unsettled he is and the fact that even people trained to recognize a disturbed child can't see him. The actions he did doesn't seem too far from what an evil child might have done. It's hammed up, but it's no different from any other evil bad seed film like 2009's Orphan and 1956's Bad Seed. Yes, the film was inappropriate for children, but it never was for kids. It's a thriller, and a scary movie. So for Robert Ebert to call the film a creepy, unpleasant experience. I think the movie did its purpose. It's not supposed to make you feel lovely, it's a horror movie. I don't understand why people think this movie is any different than other horror films. At less, this horror movie was smart. I love the final action scene at the end of the cliffs. In my opinion, it's one of my favorite fight scenes in the 1990s. It's get more intense, when a hard choice was given to one of the main characters. I wouldn't spoil it for you. The music by Elmer Bernstein was chilling and works for the intense moments. In my opinion, this R film isn't that bad. Yes, it has children fighting, harsh language, and smoking, but it's not as gory as 1984's Children of the Corn, and 1976's the Omen. This movie could had been rated PG-13 with a few edits. The DVD transfer is good. So it's worth finding this movie, it's has a lot of DVD extras worth checking out. Overall: This film isn't for the faint of heart conservative watchers. You have to open to anything, even if it's seems odd for a child to act this way. Once you get pass that, you will realize that this movie isn't as bad as what some critics say it is. You find yourself, cheering Elijah Wood on with this thriller as the story takes you in. You find out that the film is badly overlook and panned by critics just angry because at the time Culkin was American darling at the time and they believe that he shouldn't play a bad seed at the time. It's like watching 1930's horror movie with Shirley Temple as an evil daughter. People are just typecasting the child actor to only family friendly roles. The Good Son is a rare gem of a horror movie that needs to be check out again. It's a good movie, and it's good enough for me.
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7/10
New home, new addition and certainly not alone
kosmasp25 February 2021
Culkin allegedly was forced upon this movie, as I read after watching the movie. This had quite the repercussions (director and other-wise). That aside, this is the movie of Elijah Wood. He really is good (no pun intended), which once again cannot be said about Culkins character. Not sure what you think of his Home Alone movies (he was in the first two), but this really is very obvious ... just not to the adults.

And when I say obvious, you can see where this is heading, so quite predictable. Still the performances overall (even that of Culkin, whatever you may think of his pale delivery) really elevate the whole movie to another level. And that ending ... I have to admit, that took quite the ... well I didn't expect it to go down like that, let me put it that way - pun intended. Evil can lurk anywhere, this certainly isn't made for the easily offended amongst us ...
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8/10
The Tale of an Imp
injury-654471 September 2020
The run time is a little too short to fully flesh out the ideas but it's definitely an enjoyable ride. A really solid thriller that gets darker than you might expect.

Seeing MC portray a hellish imp is delightful. He and Elijah give outstanding performances. It's great seeing them at this age together.
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8/10
Culkin's Best
caspian19781 June 2004
There are two thins you do not want to have to deal with while making a movie. Having to work with animals and having to work with children. Both can be unpredictable and hard to manage. It is very hard to get good direction from a horse or a cow or even a 10 year old that doesn't want to act in front of the camera because he is tired or hungry. The Good Son is one of the best movies with the stars of the film both being younger than 13. Wood and Culkin lead this small cast in this dramatic drama of murder, lies, and coming of age youth in a beautiful, yet dead setting.

Culkin gives his first real performance as an actor as Wood feeds off Culkin's presence. Both actors have you hanging off the edge of your seat as the story grows into a conflict after another conflict. A must see if you are a fan of Wood or Culkin. A true drama.
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6/10
Could have been better
preppy-326 April 2003
Mark (Elijah Wood), still grieving over his mothers death, goes to live with cousins in Maine while his father takes care of business. One of his cousins is a boy his age, Henry (Macaulay Culkin). Henry turns out to be a psychopath and is determined to do anything to stop Mark from telling anyone else.

This movie originally had a different director attached to it who (understandably) did not want Culkin in it. Culkins' father made it clear that if Macaulay didn't get this movie he wouldn't do "Home Alone 2". So, the studio bowed to pressure--the original director quit--and Culkin destroys what could have been a great movie. As we now know, Macaulay was treated like dirt by his father and forced into projects, so he can't be blamed for this entirely. Still he's just lousy. He says all his lines in a monotone and has a blank look on his face all through the movie. He really weighs this movie down. Still, this isn't totally worthless.

It's well-directed; contains three very good performances by Wood, Wendy Crewson and David Morse; has just beautiful locations (most filmed in Cape Ann, MA) and has a lush, sweeping music score. Also it seems to have been cut down to its bare bones--it's only 84 minutes long--and moves very quickly.

Still, I can only give it a 6 because of Culkin. That's too bad.

Also, it doesn't really deserve the R rating. There's no nudity, sex, very little swearing and all the violence is off screen.
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8/10
The modern revision of "The Bad Seed" almost delivers
Casey-5224 May 2000
Many people believed in the early 90s (the heyday of Macaulay Culkin) that Culkin was the spawn of the devil. So it was perfectly fitting that he play an evil boy who is obsessed with violence and death. A semi-remake of "The Bad Seed", Culkin does his best at being terrifying and even says his first on-screen f**k ("Don't f**k with me!"), but falls short too many times to be believable. Elijah Wood steals the show, an accomplished actor as a character who is taken from one desperate situation (his mother has just recently died) and thrown into another (trapped in a house with his psychotic cousin). He has more scenes than Culkin, steals every scene from Culkin, and is a very likable character. The same can't be said for Culkin, who if anything annoys the viewer. Word has it that he only got this role because his crazy father blackmailed FOX by saying Culkin wouldn't make "Home Alone 2" until he made "The Good Son". Culkin does seem very out-of-place and uncomfortable in some scenes, letting us know that his forte is comedy, not horror. A few good chilling scenes (the frantic skating on the lake, the cliff-hanging (literally) finale), but overall, nothing to shout about. Culkin's sister plays Culkin's sister and Culkin's brother plays Culkin's dead brother in a picture, if you care.
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8/10
Surprisingly enjoyable! A few spoilers
Bon_Jovi_chick26 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
To be honest, I did not know what to think when I saw this film. Overall, its not my favourite film, its still watchable.

Mark (Elijah Wood) has just lost his mum to cancer and is sent off to his cousin Henry (Macaulay Culkin) to help. However, Mark learns that Henry is twisted and evil, whilst his mum and dad reckon he's a good boy.

Although Henry is twisted and evil, Culkin shows another side to him which shows that he wants attention. After killing his younger brother Richard and attempting to kill his sister, I can only lead to one conclusion: that Henry was once the oldest and had all the attention and became jealous when his brother and sister were born. And then Mark comes along and Henry feels threatened with his mother comforting another boy. A very different role from the "Home Alone" series and surprisingly brilliantly done!

Elijah Wood is brilliant as Mark who feels guilty for not being able to save his mother from cancer. At the same time as grieving, he has to protect Henry's sister from Henry and also try and convince Henry's parents that Henry is not as good as they like to think.

What I did not like about the film is the ending: to have a mother given a choice on which child should fall........ its a bit sick.

Also, the film was too short. It would have been interesting to actually see how Richard died and also see what made Henry become evil. That part can only be theorised- it should have been put on screen!

8/10!!!
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