Laura (Andi Matichak) is settled in a community with a teaching job, taking evening classes, and has good with neighbours. It’s a blissful picture of small-town America. Son David (Luke David Blumm) too looks content until one night Laura pops into her son’s room to see that his bed is surrounded by people. Full on panic mode ensues with the cops called in.

David is hospitalised vomiting blood though no one can detect what the problem is. With nothing to work with and David recovering, he is discharged. Meanwhile Laura has started seeing one of the cops Paul (Emile Hirsch and is having bad dreams eventually revealing that she was once in a cult.

Looking to make an escape Laura leaves David with a neighbour whom he eviscerates and eats. Seems blood and guts are the remedy to his ills. Switching to chase and return mode Laura is now convinced that the cult is after her and that she must confront them.
Son contains all the staples of a cult escapee film though once over those and it settles and builds (slowly) into an effective psychological horror. This in the main is down to Matichak whose tortured mother and victim role is well drawn; her confusion tearing at her with each revelation.

There is an element of predictability that writer and director Ivan Kavanagh doesn’t manage to shake off. Interest is maintained however with a few bloody murders lobbed in and the overall unease of the central character using the mechanism of Laura’s dreams to fill in gaps and develop as well as confuse the viewer as to her mental state.

It is however a trifle languid at times and doesn’t quite achieve the desired effect of a dread slowburn towards the conclusion.

Son is available now on Shudder.