Life just served young Mark Evans (preternaturally saucer-eyed ELIJAH WOOD) a steaming shit sandwich with a heaping side of SUCK! After his mom succumbs to cancer, Mark’s tall drink of Philly tap water father (DAVID MORSE) jets off to Japan on business and dumps him off at his uncle’s house in scenic Maine. Unfortunately for Mark, his temporary housing situation involves living under the same roof with his mildly depressed aunt Susan (WENDY CREWSON), she’s grieving/ blaming herself for the loss of a toddler son who mysteriously drowned in the bathtub, and his psychotic cousin Henry (America’s then box-office golden child playing against type, or was he?, MACAULEY CULKIN). At first, relations between the boys are pretty cool, and Henry includes Mark in his favorite pastimes of taunting the neighbor’s dog and dropping a dummy off a highway overpass. Henry’s sinister behavior escalates, and Mark tries to warn any and everyone that will listen that Henry is a full-blown whack-a-doodle. Of course no one believes Mark’s wild accusations, and he ends up being sent off to therapy. Aunt Susan finally manages to put two and two together when she stumbles across her late son’s rubber duckie in Henry’s woodshed workshop. Without spoiling the action, the ending is a real cliffhanger (literally), and Aunt Susan is forced to make a cinematic choice normally reserved for the likes of MERYL STREEP.
On the surface, THE GOOD SON has all the elements of a camp classic. CULKIN takes a page from the PATTY McCORMACK/Rhoda Penmark playbook and knows how to turn on and off the crazy at the drop of a stuffed dummy onto a crowded expressway. The lack of actual kills by CULKIN though, is what keeps THE GOOD SON from being an actual contender in the killer kid genre. Sure, he tries to ice his sister, but she lives. He tries to shove his mom off a cliff, yet fails. He doesn’t even manage to take out a single motorist with the appropriately named effigy Mr. Highway! Yeah, he cops to drowning his unseen younger brother in the bath, but we never even get a flashback! If you’re going to base a whole movie around a pint-sized psycho, you really need to give him or her a measurable body count.
- Henry causes an interstate pile-up with the help of his pal Mr. Highway
- Crack-the-whip with little sis results in a scene that was sadly overlooked on our ICE SAFETY LIST . Doesn’t anyone ever listen to WALKEN?
- Mark freaks out when he thinks Henry has poisoned the family’s food and goes apeshit on the refrigerator
- Lil’ Mac drops the F-bomb