CREDIT: Rafy/Orion Pictures

Starring: Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott, Peter Mooney, Colm Feore, Brittany Allen, Paul Fauteux

Director: Nicolas McCarthy

Running Time: 101 Minutes

Rating: R for Disturbing Juvenile Behavior, A Fair Amount of Gore, and Momentary Graphic Nudity

Release Date: February 8, 2019

It’s better to be unfailingly nice and decent than it is to be preternaturally smart. It’s great if you can be both, and the two certainly are not mutually exclusive. But the worst-case scenario is when you have no control over your skills and personality. So it is in the case of Miles, a young boy whose advanced intellect is paired with some sociopathic tendencies. He had the misfortune of being born on the same day that a serial killer met his end one state over. This murderer’s soul is now trying to take over Miles’ body to complete his lethal work. That is not a spoiler – while the trailers play coy about the true nature of Miles’ disturbing inclinations, the beginning of The Prodigy is edited in such a way to make it unmistakable what we are dealing with.

As is the case with so many bad seed movies, this one is about the efforts of the mother to figure out what is going on and to keep the evil at bay. But The Prodigy differs from the likes of Rosemary’s Baby in terms of how much everyone else believes what is really going on. As mom Sarah, Taylor Schilling is as open-minded as she ought to be given the situation. She takes her boy to a therapist (Colm Feore), who turns out to be a specialist in reincarnation. For a movie that mostly plays by the rules of the real world, it is a little jarring to see it be so matter-of-fact about its supernatural forces. But if you are going to confirm that souls of the dead can indeed inhabit the bodies of the living in this reality, why beat around the bush? Feore is certainly up to the task to convey professionalism, confidence, and normality, or at least normality in a certain context.

While The Prodigy is admirably out-there in its supernatural status quo, it does not have the idiosnycratic climax to match it. It’s bracingly brutal, but fairly predictable. There could be a happy or a depressing ending, and the option taken goes down about exactly as you would expect it to. There is enough in there to satisfy the bloodlust of a particularly sanguine audience, but it will be a little less than filling to any horror gourmand on the hunt for new flavors.

The Prodigy is Recommended If You Like: The Omen, The Good Son, Generally any and all evil kid movies

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Hungarian Dialects

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