Pros: original story in its own way; presence of disturbing moments Cons: the essence of the strange behavior of the main character is revealed at the very beginning of the film “The Omen: Rebirth” / The Prodigy
Directed by Nicholas McCarthy
Starring Taylor Schilling (Sarah), Jackson Robert Scott (Miles), Colm Feore (Arthur), Brittany Allen (Margaret), Peter Mooney (John), Paula Boudreau (Dr. Elaine Stresser), etc.
Companies Orion Pictures, Vinson Films, XYZ Films
Year of release 2019
Already in the trailer for The Prodigy you can recognize a familiar face – the main and most problematic character is played by Jackson Robert Scott. We remember him for his role as Georgie, who fell into the drain with the clown Pennywise in the movie “It”. Now Scott is no longer playing the victim and is getting significantly more screen time.
The film The Prodigy centers on a family into which a boy, Miles, is born. He develops unusually quickly – he begins to speak early, copes with logic problems with ease, and by the age of eight is significantly ahead of his peers in intelligence. Miles’s parents are happy that they are raising a true child prodigy, but over time, frightening oddities appear in the child’s behavior. He cold-bloodedly beats a classmate with a wrench, speaks an unfamiliar language in his sleep at night and cannot remember some episodes that happened to him recently. Miles’ mother takes her son to a psychologist, trying to find out the reasons for this behavior. There they tell her that she should contact a completely different specialist who works with unconventional research.
The film was directed by Nicholas McCarthy, who has worked only on horror films throughout his entire film career. His track record includes two not-so-famous horror films, The Pact and At the Devil’s Door, as well as one part from the Holidays anthology.
In The Prodigy, McCarthy turns to well-known horror techniques. The director relies on scenes that take place at night and uses lingering shots that play on the viewer’s nerves. In addition to the suspense, the muted colors add to the film’s growing anxiety. McCarthy also uses close-ups to hint at the peculiarity of the main character, whose duality the viewer has already grasped.
Screenwriter Jeffrey Buechler reveals the main secret of the film almost at the very beginning of the film. Without any thought, you can immediately connect the dark prologue and the main story about the prodigy, so we can only see where this all leads. Although, of course, it would be more interesting to leave a little time for the audience to guess.
After the straightforward truth, which does not hide a secret, they will still save a couple of plot twists for us. Sometimes they will be spoiled by ridiculous “random” coincidences. So, at the right moment, a voice recorder will be at hand, or a video camera will catch your eye. But if you forget about these moments, the story develops interestingly.
In addition to Miles played by Jackson Robert Scott, actress Taylor Schilling, who plays the boy’s mother, leads the screen. Thanks to it, a completely natural picture of the experiences of a parent is created, who is trying to understand the situation and save the child. Colm Feori (The Chronicles of Riddick, The Umbrella Academy) also appears in the film, playing a character who tries to help the family.
The cult of films dedicated to scary children appeared in the 70s (here is a reference to “The Omen”, which was not entirely successfully placed in the translation of the film) and lasted for quite a long time. At some point they were supplanted by horror films dedicated to annoying ghosts, but now it’s time for a new wave of horror films about children (take, for example, the recent The Hole in the Ground).
There’s something new in The Prodigy’s storyline, so it’s not a copy of previous films. There are plenty of tense moments here, like going down into an unlit basement – what frightens you most is not the result of what you see, but the process of plunging into darkness.
The Prodigy fulfills all the goals of a horror film – it scares and keeps you in suspense. But the main line of the film is not always presented successfully.