New horror picture in the ilk of The Good Son, or even The Omen isn’t really much of a singular experience, not of the loftier macabre quality of 2007s Joshua.
But, The Prodigy probes into the subgenre with a feel for Child’s Play at the opening with a lurid shift from natal to homicidal through supernatural origins with the intention to let the proceedings gravitate more tautly.
Those not really in the know for this type of feature might find it fairly disquieting, especially in the earlier sections, though the prelude probably lets on more than it should that puts on-lookers ahead of those populating the screen.
Congenial suburban mom Sarah (Taylor Schilling of Argo, The Lucky One, The Overnight) is more of the focus of the action who comes to learn of the aloofness and wild nature of her precocious son Miles. The supposition on the part of director Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact) and scribe Jeff Buhler (Midnight Meat Train) with notions of medical, behavioral and paranormal from the aspect of parental and maternal appeasing of the stressful just doesn’t traverse the unreasonable like it should.
That said, Schilling isn’t half bad as a progressively disconsolate mother and young Jackson Robert Scott (of 2017s It as ill-fated Georgie and the upcoming Chapter Two) transitioning plausibly enough from sweet to simmering as the conflicted Miles. U.S. born Canadian thespian Colm Feore of Changeling and The Exorcism of Emily Rose is stilted with delivering information and therapy as Sarah fears for her family’s safety. You almost wish at least one sequence involving the reliable character actor had more levity instilled in it.
The Prodigy isn’t ghastly in a bad way, yet for what is provided in front of the camera it turns out to be a less exploratory, more foolish cinematic bad-seed that couldn’t realize its potential.