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Review – The Prodigy (Orion Pictures) Offers Predictable Scares

Jackson Robert Scott as Miles in The Prodigy (Orion Pictures 2019)
The Prodigy
Overall
6/10
6/10
  • Writing - 4/10
    4/10
  • Acting - 7/10
    7/10
  • Directing - 7/10
    7/10
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Summary

Stars: Taylor Schilling, Peter Mooney, Jackson Robert Scott
Director: Nicholas McCarthy
Writer: Jeff Buhler
Producer: Tara Farney, Tripp Vinson
Production Companies: Orion Pictures, Vinson Films
Maturity Rating: R
Release Date: February 8, 2019

Every pair of parents would agree that one of the most rewarding moments in their relationship was when they welcomed their children into the world. Sadly, for Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and John (Peter Mooney), a beautiful moment will get turned into a sinister mistake as their child progresses into a loose cannon.

The Prodigy Isn’t Offering Anything New

There have been several films released over the past decade showcasing demonic activity, demonic possession, and evil children; some have even tied both demons and children together. Borrowing from past movies like Child’s PlayThe Good Son, Orphan, and The OmenThe Prodigy doesn’t step too far out of that realm, and while there is a lot to enjoy from this movie, it doesn’t break new ground for this subgenre of horror outside of one particular plot device.

Director Nicholas McCarthy’s latest outing offers enough twist, suspense, and crowd-pleasing performances to keep viewers invested, but from the moment the film begins, those that leave their brains turned on will figure out exactly where the movie is going. However, that’s not the biggest issue. For some reason screenwriter Jeff Buhler felt it was also necessary to over-explain certain things as they occur on screen. Luckily, The Prodigy saves itself towards the end by offering a predictable but satisfying conclusion.

What’s the Story?

The Prodigy (Orion Pictures) movie poster via IMDb
The Prodigy (Orion Pictures, 2019)
Movie poster via IMDb

Most parents would agree that one of the most rewarding moments in their relationship was when they welcomed their children into the world. Sadly, for Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and John (Peter Mooney), a beautiful moment turns into a sinister mistake as their child becomes a loose cannon.

In the film, Sarah and John have recently welcomed their newborn son, Miles (Jackson Robert Scott). Much to their surprise, Miles has two different-colored eyes and a mind that is too smart for others to figure out. Behind those wonderful highlights lies a deep-rooted issue within Miles, and it must be resolved before it is too late. Buhler has penned a film consisting of well-written characters, and McCarthy effectively projects the screenplay’s suspense onto the big screen. After reaching out for help, the family learns that another soul has inhabited Miles’ body, but it isn’t the traditional formula used in previous horror films, which makes The Prodigy much more engaging.

A few hiccups regarding narrative contradictions, mismanaged characters, and just a stubborn refusal to let audiences figure out the movie on their own are The Prodigy‘s biggest downfalls. Scott’s performance as Miles is something that should be applauded; not many child actors are able to shift from one character into the next with such ease. The film’s score is also very pleasing. It perfectly complements each scene involving Miles going completely insane on other individuals. As mentioned before, this movie is going to be easy to figure out and is showered with familiar territory. But it still manages to utilize its remaining runtime to keep the audience invested by building tension, making Miles an interesting character, and offering one twist most will see coming.

Final Verdict

The Prodigy won’t be an experience that leaves viewers wanting more, but it offers enough scares to keep you watching. Fans of evil-children movies will more than likely find this to be entertaining and fun. But it still isn’t doing much different compared to the ones that came before. Luckily, the movie isn’t a complete showcase of poor storytelling; it is, instead, a decent horror film relying on strong performances, a suspenseful situation, and lots of predictable-yet-welcoming twists. 

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About the author

Eric Trigg

Fan of horror movies, supernatural series, and yes the old school is better than the new. I am a youtuber where i post movie news, and reviews the channel name is critical overlord.

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