What goes on inside the mind of a child? Questions are asked and answers are pondered in relation to young Miles and his strange behavior in the new horror film titled The Prodigy. Director, Nicholas McCarthy, does a great job establishing suspenseful moments and creating real tension instead of relying on jump scares which makes for an engaging experience that grabs ahold of you. Jeff Buhler’s script also does well in crafting well-written characters, albeit light in some areas, making their characters believable in some sense of the word. The Prodigy is a film that may seem dull to some but there are some worthy surprises in store.
Giving birth to a child is a beautiful moment. There is joy, excitement, and incomparable pleasure in becoming a parent. Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and John (Peter Mooney) are happy to be bringing their son, Miles (Jackson Robert Scott), into the world. He has different colored eyes and as he ages, his intellect is something his teachers take notice of. Miles is a very smart kid but something else is happening to him. He mumbles strange words in his sleep, becomes violent at times, and exhibits an extreme lack of emotion. What is happening to this bright and beautiful boy?
When the family seeks help, we learn it’s a possibility Miles is suffering from something that almost sounds hard to believe. Another soul has entered Miles’ body and eventually, the two souls will become one. The boy’s bright and beautiful soul is up against a violent, corrupting soul. The idea is interesting, I will say, and we even learn who the soul could be, which I won’t reveal.
There are scares in this movie but it is comprised more of suspense than anything else— a rare find in movies of this nature. Making her debut in a horror film, Schilling from Orange in the New Black does great work as the desperate mother seeking help for her son. Also, young Jackson Robert Scott does fantastic work as the kid seemingly possessed by a supernatural force. Generally, I’m not a fan of supernatural horror as I don’t find the threat exactly credible in providing terrifying moments. I like more tangible villains personally, but as the movie continued, I became really engaged in the film. That is, until the third act, which falls down the path of complete insanity.
The script is smart and takes its time building suspense but the ending is disappointing. I enjoyed the movie for the most part but the ending is a massive step down and I just wonder why the filmmakers chose that particular ending. To give you a clue, Sarah makes a desperate decision to save her son but does so in a way that either you’ll be rolling your eyes or feeling rather insulted by her actions. I almost threw my hands up in shock once her decision was made. The ending flat-out ruins the movie.
Verdict 2 out of 5
Despite the performances, the tension, and the unique premise, The Prodigy sadly falls under by the weight of its bad ending. Jeff Buhler wrote such a good script and yet, the ending makes you wonder if he took a break from writing while pondering a clever ending. Sadly, there is nothing that will have you talking about this film long after you leave the theater, except for its bad ending. The Prodigy works on its performances and positively focuses on suspense instead of jump scares but none of this compensates enough for the bad ending. It’s disappointing because I was really enjoying the story. It kept me on the edge of my seat.