In Nicholas McCarthy’s horror film THE PRODIGY A little boy suddenly has to contend with a foreign power that has taken possession of him. It’s not new, but it’s definitely effective. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
The young mother Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and her husband John (Peter Mooney) have been noticing the disturbing behavior of their young, highly gifted son Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) for some time. Everything indicates that an evil, possibly supernatural force has taken possession of him. He suddenly speaks a foreign language and mutters evil sentences in his sleep that become increasingly threatening to his parents. Sarah must choose between her maternal instinct to love and protect Miles and her desperate need to find out what – or who – is responsible. She is forced to look for answers in the past and quickly realizes that the boundaries between perception and reality are becoming increasingly blurred. Is there a cure for the obsessed Miles, who becomes more unpredictable every day?
Movie explanation of the ending
Director Nicholas McCarthy proudly announced (“The Pact”) last year that his new film “The Prodigy” had to go through the editing process again after a test screening. At one point the audience simply screamed so loudly and for so long that after a jump scare they simply couldn’t understand the dialogue anymore. Now the umpteenth story about a demonic child is coming to USA cinemas and we can reveal this much: the genre-tested editors Tom Elkins (“Annabelle”) and Brian Ufberg (“Zodiac – The Killer’s Trail”) did such a good job that you can’t even imagine at what point the audience must have gotten so freaked out that they couldn’t stop themselves from screaming. A rogue who suspects that the report is just a bit of creative PR nonsense… But apart from this questionable legend, “The Prodigy” is, on the whole, really solid. The premise of an obsessed three-cheese high is by no means new and the ending in particular was obviously based on a similar classic, so we don’t even want to mention the title for spoiler reasons. But the well-rounded, absolutely consistently told shocker relies primarily on atmosphere and less on flat scares and is therefore way ahead of most of the modern genre competition.
Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) and his mother Sarah (Taylor Schilling) are still enjoying their time together!
Newcomer Jackson Robert Scott is just ten years old and yet is already an old hand when it comes to working in horror works. In 2017 he appeared in an episode of the zombie series “Fear the Walking Dead” before playing his way into the hearts of “It” viewers as Georgie, who was kidnapped into the sewers by the scary clown Pennywise. “The Prodigy” is now his second feature film and hardly any other actor of his age can currently be said to have the greatest possible range of acting. The kidnapped, sad victim has become a real devil, who sometimes shouts insults at his mother in her sleep, kills the dog, or attacks a classmate out of sheer rage before a teacher can stop him completely to finish it off. Although child prodigy Miles reaches up to his parents Sarah and John’s waist, Scott takes over all the scenery with his performance; precisely because one doesn’t actually trust him to do such things and the young actor further underlines this impression by never completely coming out of himself until the thoroughly consistent finale – after all, it has to be an increase in his already anything but normal behavior of an adolescent give.
Jackson Robert Scott is also the one who steals the show from the adult actors here. “Orange is the New Black” star Taylor Schilling and her on-screen husband Peter Mooney (“We Were Wolves”)) the worried parents act self-sacrificingly, but they never really come out of it, especially in the dramatic scenes. It is primarily the interpersonal and emotional moments in which the two are convincing, but at the same time it makes sense that they leave the stage primarily to the newcomer. The newcomer and the production, because Nicholas McCarthy chooses a directorial approach for “The Prodigy” that is far removed from smoothly polished Blumhouse horror. Already in the prologue, which also sets out the rather absurd plot – more on that later – the feeling of a charming 80s film prevails. The images from McCarthy’s regular cameraman Bridger Nielson (“Holidays”) are characterized by a fundamental darkness and often look pretty dirty and not like the usual high-gloss look. Computer effects are also almost completely avoided. In short: “The Prodigy” is simply pleasantly old school.
Arthur Jacobsen (Colm Feore) tries to get to the bottom of the eerie events.
Narratively, “The Prodigy” is hard to swallow several times. Already in the opening scene, in which the birth of a child – namely Miles – takes place parallel to the capture and subsequent execution of a mad serial killer, you can guess what the film’s plot will lead to. The story is correspondingly lacking in surprises, but instead of rushing towards the resolution, “The Prodigy” does a much better job of showing how Miles’ environment explores the eerie events surrounding the little boy that we have long since deciphered. McCarthy stages all of this with a serious hand; Screenwriter Jeff Buhler (“Midnight Meat Train”) also doesn’t shy away from making use of one or two clichés. The pet falls victim to Miles’ bloody desires, a therapist who believes in supernatural powers comes into play, and we’ve seen dozens of times in other horror films that someone haunted by a demon or whatever suddenly speaks with the voice of evil. At the same time, Buhler makes it clear from the start that he’s not just interested in simply stringing jump scares after jump scares – there aren’t that many of them in “The Prodigy” – but above all about telling a story. And that’s exactly what he succeeds in doing; Especially as a horror beginner, “The Prodigy” is a nice appetizer before venturing into the well-known classics.
Conclusion: “The Prodigy” is a solid horror film about a possessed child, portrayed in a believably frightening manner by “It” Georgie Jackson Robert Scott. Even if the story offers few surprises, you get the positive impression that the makers wanted to tell an exciting horror story and not just blatantly shock. That’s exactly what they managed to do.
“The Prodigy” can be seen in USA cinemas from February 7th.