The Good Son

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

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Corey Convex
15 years ago

Canacorn loves that you said, "whack-a-doodle."  Canacorn also thinks Kindertrauma is Traumalicious!

Some people think Canacorn is kinda' gay for loving Runway, but Canacorn doesn't care what other people think….cause Canacorn is dramalicious!

Holla' at your boy!

15 years ago

I watched this movie (when it first came on cable) not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. The ending particularly had me – I kid you not – on the edge of my seat.

BUT….I think having seen it once I never need to see it again. Once you know all the wicked little things Culkin is gonna do and how the movie ends there are really no shocks left. Still I gotta love any movie where Culkin says "F" and trys to knock Wood out of a treehouse, taunting "Ya think you could fly?"

15 years ago

That last still is amazing.  It's like Michael Jackson's kid immitating his dad in the "Smooth Criminal" video. 

But hey… Macauley Culkin and MJ used to be BFF, so… hmm… something's going on here that just ain't right.

Amanda By Night
15 years ago

I've never seen this movie. I remember it well, but was so Home-Alone-d-out that I skipped it. In retrospect, I have some love for Culkin… his life was kind of Kindertrauma… I have been hankering for some early 90s goodies, so this just might fit the bill. Well, this and Single White Female. So White Hot.

Jeff Allard
15 years ago

I remember really liking this movie at the time. The ending, especially, is bad-ass. It's definitely not the kind of thing you usually see in a movie involving kids – even an evil kid. I'm surprised a studio was willing to go with it but thank God they did because it makes the whole movie.  

unkle lancifer
15 years ago

I always wished this was a bit grittier (It's so damn scenic!) but there's parts of it that are irresistible, Culkin's face after the Mr. Highway stunt is hilarious and he gets more than a couple great, super- quotable lines.

Amanda, I too love the SWF!. The early nineties were such a weird time for horror, Freddy had pretty much worn out his welcome by this point and all the sudden horror was replaced or transformed into these "people from hell" thrillers like "Hand that rocks the cradle","the temp", "the crush" etc. It kind of reminds me of the post-BABY JANE psycho-grand-dame cycle in that there's an instant "camp" quality to the films.

…And they always had the best commersials usually ending with the psycho spouting out some great line like the one MamamiaSW pointed out, "ya think you could fly?"

15 years ago

I really enjoyed The Good Son when it first came out. I really could not stand Macauley Culkin and liked that he was cast as the villain. All the cutesy roles he had previously played annoyed me. My nephew and niece were just the right age to like those movies (Home Alone, etc.) and wanted to watch them ad nauseam. So seeing him play a little, unlikeable psychopath was gratifying to me.

12 years ago

Maybe I would've liked the movie better if Henry had actually killed a few people like the psychologist for instance like he could've poisoned her coffee when she wasn't looking, one thing that bugged me is at the end the dad chased Mark after he escaped from the house and yet he never shows up at the cliff side, and I would've like a little closure like if it would've flashed forward a couple months later. And I would've liked a different ending like Henry actually succeeding in killing Susan and then Henry either fell during the struggle or he knocks out Mark and the uncle finds him and has him sent to juvenile hall.