A strong addition to 2019’s already stacked horror lineup, The Prodigy supplies fans with a decent new addition to the creepy kid sub-genre.
Eight year old Miles is beyond gifted, much to his parent’s joy and concern. He knows things that no child should, yet struggles to connect with his peers. Before long, his behavior takes a startling turn and his mother Sarah is the only one willing to explore alternative explanations for his rapid decline into violence.
The introduction to Miles and “his problem” wasn’t straightforward and it hinted at several possibilities right off the bat. Once it was revealed (sooner rather than later), it was so intriguing that you felt like the ghost wasn’t given up and that it had only gotten wholly more interesting. The film wasn’t overwhelmingly suspenseful, sans a couple of jump scare moments (not including the scene in the bedroom. That was just straight up unnerving) but it didn’t try to be something it wasn’t. It was dark and bitter in both the graphic content and the relationship between mother and horribly-changing-son.
It was refreshing to not see the frustrating default-denial most parents in horror movies have- the mother didn’t need a whole lot of convincing that something was seriously up with Miles. Despite the completely bizarre situation, she took the initiative to get shit done, no matter how hard it was. The family dynamic was believable and Taylor Schilling actually looked like a mother of a young child, eye bags and all. Mile’s father (Peter Mooney) felt displaced most of the film and his relationship with his son seemed like it was a little too intentionally distant for the sake of the narrative. Jackson Robert Scott, our beloved Georgie from IT, kills it as the lead without wavering once from the seriousness of his role.
It’s a sincere genre flick that doesn’t stand up for debate as to where it belongs. The amount of supernatural elements, onscreen violence, and discomposing themes solidifies its breed and is accented with my coveted “true horror ending.” The Prodigy is engrossing for horror fans and eerie enough for the average moviegoer.