(In French, On TV, June 2019) There are a few plot devices that irritate me no end, and the bad seed trope is certainly one of them. You know the one because it’s so familiar: the evil amoral sociopathic child, able to pretend that s/he’s the sweetest while killing pets, going after siblings (usually successfully, at least at first) and making our young hero look like the culpable one. You have certainly seen something like this before. Well, The Good Son has it all, albeit with the added wrinkle that the bad seed is McCauley Culkin, taking his Home Alone character and pushing it comfortably into the realm of premeditated murder. Against him is a very young Elijah Wood, trying (unsuccessfully) to convince adults around him that his cousin is irremediably bad and that he’s coming after them next. The ending is elegant in its own fashion (although abrupt), but much of the film is spent in hackneyed thriller territory, with musical stings telling us exactly how to feel about what we’re seeing, and all subtlety being extinguished. The young psychopathic antagonist is maximally detestable, and The Good Son hammers on that theme for roughly an hour out of its total slim running time. Repetitive and irritating—now there’s a recipe for unpleasant watching.