Review: The Prodigy (2019)

The Prodigy (2019)

Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy | 92 minutes | fantasy, horror | Actors: Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott, Peter Mooney, Colm Feore, Paul Fauteux, Brittany Allen, Paula Boudreau, Elisa Moolecherry, Olunike Adeliyi, Janet Land

‘The Prodigy’ could easily have been called ‘We Need to Talk About Miles’, because just like in the chilling drama ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ (2011), in this film the parents (especially the mother) make themselves known. much worried about their son’s increasingly strange behavior. However, there is something supernatural at the root of the problems with their son.

Sarah and John have been waiting a long time for their baby to arrive. While Sarah gives birth to Miles in the hospital, something horrific happens elsewhere in the United States. A young woman narrowly escapes her captor and intended murderer. Thanks to her leads, the police quickly track down this serial killer. They can’t arrest him, in self-defense this Edward Scarka is shot. He dies on the spot.

That there is a link between Edward and Miles is clear from the start. Both characters have heterochromia (color difference in both eyes). Miles is extremely intelligent, when he is a few months he says his first words. His rapid development ensures that he is admitted to a special school, where his talents come into their own. Despite this, Miles struggles to connect with peers, and before long Miles’ behavior becomes more violent. When he hacks into a classmate with a heavy tool, Sarah seeks psychological help for him.

This puts her on the path of an expert in a particular field of philosophy (Colm Feore whose talent is barely used in this film), who obviously has the answer in his hands, but who is powerless to tell Sarah directly. That is not really problematic, because Sarah knows how to put the puzzle pieces together herself – just like the viewer long before her. ‘The Prodigy’ does not only lean on the usual jump scares, but fortunately does its best in terms of setting the atmosphere. The dimly lit landing, the family dog, the basement with the wooden stairs, the bedroom full of toys and a sleeping child (as long as he doesn’t wake up)… it works. That’s pretty clever, because ‘The Prodigy’ isn’t really original. As a viewer, you already know that Miles does not deserve our sympathy, but still the kid also regularly moves with his anxious ‘help me, mommy’ look.

Taylor Schilling is convincing in her mother role. She gives new meaning to the expression ‘unconditional love’ and while she probably reacts differently from the proverbial ‘dear helmsman’, it is easy to empathize with her. Miles’ father John (Peter Mooney) barely gets anything to do. ‘The Prodigy’ is reasonable horror-light in the ‘scary kids’ category.

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