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YMMV / The Good Son

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  • Awesome Music: For all its faults, the movie does have a wonderful soundtrack provided by the late Elmer Bernstein.
  • Complete Monster: Henry Evans, having a disturbing attraction towards death and the idea of murder, built a philosophy around himself that stated that if people were to rid themselves of their morals, then they are free to do any evil acts that they wanted to do without such concepts holding them back. Prior to the main plot, Henry murdered his own younger brother in the bathtub just because he had happened to be playing with a toy that belonged to him. He then goes on to convince his cousin, Mark, into helping him throw a dummy dubbed "Mr. Highway" from a bridge, resulting in massive car accidents. He also shot and killed an innocent dog with a nail gun from a distance and he also attempted to drown his sister in a frozen lake when they were skating together. When Henry's mother was beginning to realize that her son was a remorseless sociopath, she decided to send him to a mental institution so that he could get the help that he needed. Unwilling to lose his freedom to do bad, Henry decided that his family needed to die so that he could be free to do whatever he wanted.
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  • Cult Classic: In a sense: The film is still looked down upon poorly but has garnered a small audience, mainly due to Macaulay Culkin playing an evil role.
  • Fridge Horror: Just how much abuse has Connie suffered over the years at the hands of Henry?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
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  • Idiot Plot: If the characters would just take a look at Henry's actions, not be fooled by his obvious sociopathy and apathy, or just were able to figure out when he's acting, the plot would have fallen apart.
  • Inferred Holocaust: There is a good chance that Mark could be sent to a juvenile detention center after the events of the movie as everyone, except Susan, has written him off as a nutcase due to Henry's manipulations. Furthermore, Susan could get into serious problems with her marriage the minute she tries to explain to her husband what happened to Henry. Also, even if Mark's name gets cleared and Susan's marriage escapes unscathed, she could end up gradually resenting him later on because by choosing the life of her husband's nephew over that of her remaining son, Susan destroyed any hope of rehabilitating her own flesh and blood.
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  • Moral Event Horizon: Henry drowned his baby brother. Over a toy.
  • Narm:
    • Henry falling to his death could have been pretty dramatic if it wasn't for the fact that there's no way in the world young Macaulay Culkin screaming doesn't remind you of Kevin McCallister.
    • All of the creepy scenes of Henry with any of the adults would have been effective if they weren't so dumb and oblivious.
    • Really, the fact that the movie constantly hones in on the fact that Henry is evil and refuses to make it subtle is fairly narmy.
  • The Scrappy: Wallace, so much as he enforces the Adults Are Useless trope, refusing to believe his nephew about their son. He really crosses the line, though, when he locks up his nephew after Henry pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit. Almost makes you wish Henry would kill him next.
  • Special Effects Failure: When Henry shoves his mother off the cliff at the end and she catches a branch halfway down, the cable holding her up is clearly visible.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many viewers note that the film's premise about an evil boy isn't bad at all. It's just that Henry is so over-the-top and nothing but pure one-dimensionally evil, and the film does nothing to explore the implications and reasons behind a child being that way. We Need to Talk About Kevin and Orphan are generally considered to execute similar premises much better.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Elijah Wood gives a pretty sincere performance for this movie, which is more than what can be said for Macaulay Culkin, who appears to be phoning it in.
  • What an Idiot!: Mark not realising that Henry was planning on dropping Mr Highway when he was instructed to hoist him onto the wall of the bridge. What else was Mark thinking when they placed Mr Highway on the bridge wall? Just leave him there?
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Many critics decried the casting of Macaulay Culkin in the role thanks to his kid-friendly Home Alone series, many children hero-worshiped him and marketing research indicated extreme interest by children in the film entirely because of Culkin's presence. If the number of anecdotes by people mentioning this film gave them nightmares indicates, they probably saw it anyway in spite of the R-rating. People don't like it when you weaponize the break from Contractual Purity.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: The film was criticised for choosing Macaulay Culkin to play the main villain since he was famous for his leading roles in kid-friendly films and Contractual Purity. While Culkin's performance isn't his best, he is the best fit for the role since Henry is a manipulative psychopath who disguises himself as an innocent child. However, as shown by critics, this worked a little too well.
  • The Woobie:
    • Definitely Mark, he lost his mother. Then it looks like he's going to bond with his cousin Henry, only to find out that Henry is Ax-Crazy. Then when he tries to warn everyone about Henry, they think he's the one who's crazy.
    • Connie is in the Iron Woobie territory. She'd have to be strong to live with a monster like Henry her whole life.
    • Susan takes the cake. First her youngest son (who was still only a baby) drowns in the bathtub, then her daughter is nearly killed after falling through thin ice. After she finds out her other son is a total sociopath who was responsible for both of these incidents, he tries to kill her too and she winds up having to drop him off a cliff in order to save both herself and her nephew.

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