Possessed kids have been a staple of the horror genre since the early days. It seems every year there are tons of tales of a child fighting for their soul with a demonic entity. You can’t blame producers, writers and directors, it’s an easy genre to pull from. The juxtaposition of the innocence of a child and that of pure evil. The ease in which a story can pull you in emotionally when you see a parent stricken with grief doing anything they can for their child to no avail. Its formulaic, but it always seems to work. The biggest question to be asked is, how can you get creative in this sub-genre? The Prodigy answers that question simply, subtract the demons.
The Prodigy is a tale of a young boy who is extremely intelligent and is developing quickly. At first, his parents are thrilled but when the young Miles’ behavior starts to become erratic and violent they start to believe something strange is afoot. Now, this is typically when the crosses in the house start spinning upside down, the virgin Mary starts crying blood, we get images of doves flying and a priest enters to save the day. But there are no crosses in The Prodigy, no rosaries, no church bells and it is never once implied that the power of Christ will compel anyone. Instead, The Prodigy looks at Miles’ behavior from a psychological standpoint and uses rebirth and reincarnation to explain the unsettled spirit which is inhabiting Miles’ consciousness which is an extremely interesting concept rarely explored in horror. Now this is not the first film with evil children that has nothing to do with Satan Village of the Damned, The Visitor and Insidious have explored this concept but not to the extent that The Prodigy has.
This movie is filled with all the creepy imagery, lurking shadows, mischievous acts and parental dread associated with child possession movies. The lack of strong religious overtones keeps it from being a rehash of a movie you’ve seen a hundred times before. The creep factor is high, so is the tension which certainly makes up for the lack of dead bodies, but I assure you, the few that exist are highly impactful and will leave a lasting impression on you.
4 stars for this one! I’ve been patiently waiting for its debut since the trailer caught my eye last year and it did not disappoint. Staring Taylor Schilling from Orange is the New Black and Jackson Robert Scott who played Georgie in IT. The Prodigy is currently on your favorite VOD platform, check it out as this will certainly be on everyone’s Best of 2019 lists.
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