Today we review The Prodigy, which, if you recall from horror movie news a few weeks ago was pulled back into the edit bay because they claimed it was too scary. Well, mission accomplished, The Prodigy is no longer too scary. In fact, it isn’t too much of anything; it’s more of a forgettable horror movie that had decent promise and delivered on very little.
The Prodigy starts with two stories happening simultaneously: One is a mother giving birth. Another is a woman escaping from the clutches of a deranged serial killer’s house minus a hand. The escaping woman notifies the authorities, and a swat team begins closing in on the serial killer’s house. As the baby is born the serial killer is gunned down, the insinuation being that the soul of the serial killer is reincarnated into this newborn baby. And, just like that, I was bored into oblivion.
The Prodigy was a highly hyped movie that ends up falling flat. It was made up of a lot of hand-holding and exposition that was WAY too convenient for the story. It felt like lazy writing with a decent concept. The most notable stars of The Prodigy are Taylor Schilling from Orange is the New Black, and Jackson Robert Scott, who was the little Georgie in the It remake from 2017.
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The men to blame for The Prodigy is the writer, Jeff Buhler (Midnight Meat Train), and director Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact). The Prodigy’s writing is so predictable that it sometimes feels like a paint by numbers for horror movies. The direction is just boring, leaving you wishing the movie ended an hour before it does.
There are a few decent jump-scares but good god man, it’s just not worth it. That being said, it’s not a “bad” movie, it’s just bland as bland can be.
Score For The Prodigy
It’s not fun, and it’s barely entertaining. Does that make it bad? I don’t think so, just pretty sub-par.
The Prodigy Movie Spoilers
The bones of The Prodigy are pretty good. The idea that a killer could be reincarnated is not a new one (Child’s Play, The Omen, and plenty of others), but it is compelling and could be made very scary. I think the way I would like to see a story like this play out is with a Rob Zombie flair.
Miles is the formulaic evil child who has been placed in the formulaic evil child script to act out formulaic evil child things.
Here is a brief rundown on the structure of The Prodigy:
- Mom has evil child
- Evil child is gifted but evil
- Doctors note gift, also note “some evil”
- Mom takes child to a brain quack who diagnoses evil within child with far greater accuracy than many doctors can diagnose the common cold
- Child confirmed: evil
- Evil deeds by evil child
- Evil child splits up family
- Evil wins, probably
So, with the boring script stripped away, this becomes a movie that you have probably seen before, which would normally be fine. There are no original stories left to tell. The sin that The Prodigy commits is that it doesn’t add anything new or interesting to the story to make you care.
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Keep in mind, the bones of this story are the bones for many of the best horror movies ever made:
It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t fun or original or interesting. It made sense, and it wasn’t like the acting was poor. It was just boring and long.
So, what’s so boring about The Prodigy? Well, let’s talk about a game that was played two, maybe three times in this movie – staring match. Can you think of a more bland activity for a movie than a staring match? I can’t, and I’ve seen some real piles of shit. Sarah and Miles play a game called, “staring” with each other, and it’s every bit as pointless as it sounds. The idea behind the direction is, “Let’s show off his different colored eyes that are the big tip-off that he is the killer reincarnated.” It flops hard because staring matches are inherently boring.
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There were some interesting bits and some decent scares. There was even an extremely unnerving scene where Miles, a ten-year-old boy, climbs into bed with and creepily caresses his mother. It didn’t go anywhere interesting or terrible from there; it just kept going in monotone until it ended.
Teenagers or equivalent who have no barometer or taste. The movie has decent production but falls flat otherwise.