In this haunting song of a film by Lynne Ramsay, Eva (Tilda Swinton) struggles to identify as a mother to her seemingly calculating, hateful son, Kevin (Ezra Miller). Her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) dismisses her when she brings up his strange behavior, and as Kevin grows older his behavior becomes more and more disturbing.
This film will haunt you. It will crawl into bed with you after you watch it and it will force you to look into its cold, feelingless eyes and acknowledge it. It feels like a modern Shakespearean tragedy -- it's that impactful. The other reason I mention "Shakespearean tragedy" is because pretty early on, you catch on to where it's all leading. It's all the terror of knowing you're about to witness the worst car wreck, and you beg the universe to just not do it.
This film feels a lot like an updated version of The Bad Seed in the best possible way. While The Bad Seed tries extra hard to explain why Rhoda is so fucked up, part of We Need to Talk About Kevin's horror bubbles up out of the "why?" Although it's never explicitly said you know as a viewer that Eva spends a lot of time wondering whether it's her fault. This is the best performance I've ever seen Tilda Swinton give -- which is saying a lot. Most scenes focus on her, and even though the film has minimal dialogue you seem to constantly know what's going through her mind.
While this film definitely strays more thriller than horror, trust me, it IS a horror film. This movie is beautiful, painful, and it will fill you with dread in the most visceral, cruel way. Yeah, Satan can impregnate a woman and you'll end up with some creeping dread about "good vs. evil" in Rosemary's Baby or The Omen, but the world isn't as simple as demons and angels.
The world We Need to Talk About Kevin transports us to is our own world. What makes a person a sociopath? The answer to that question is as illusive and barely seen as the alien from Alien, and that's why this is by far the most horrifying and best horror film I've watched this year and possibly ever. It's true. We need to talk about Kevin, and we will.