By Carmen Saffioti
Published: February 13th, 2019
Last weekend The Prodigy, a suspenseful thriller/ horror movie was released. The film is directed by Nicholas McCarthy and stars Taylor Schilling, known for her lead role in Orange is the New Black. The film received less than enthusiastic reviews after its first box office weekend. This is probably due to the film’s slow pacing, poor character development, and failure to increase the suspense towards its climax. The film centers around a family and their young son named Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) who begins to develop “gifted” traits. While the family is thrilled that their son may be a prodigy, Miles begins to acquire some less than savory talents. Miles mother (Taylor Schilling), who is the true protagonist of this story has to make increasingly difficult decisions to save her son and her family.
The biggest problem the film suffers from was its predictability; almost every turn the plot tried to take was foreseeable to the audience from a mile away. Miles, who possesses the soul of a serial killer that died at the same time he was born, acts out in an increasingly psychotic manner as the serial killer’s spirit begins to take over. In order to counter this, his mother seeks out help and attempts to ease and release the spirit of the killer who has possessed her son. It is difficult to emphasize with these substandard characters as they rarely display any sort of admirable morality or uniqueness in their situation. This is another factor that contributes to the predictability, the situation and the mother and son relationship mirror that of many other suspense thrillers like Before I Wake, The Babadook, and Insidious.
The film really suffers from the lack of suspense building and a less than frightening climax. The last 20 minutes of the film show the main character, Miles, committing his most heinous act, however this does not come off as frightening but rather as quite goofy and comical. The actor who plays Miles is simply too adorable to be anything actually frightening. The casting directors could’ve picked a more sinister looking child, or as Miles became the serial killer, they could’ve used special effects to show his deteriorating state physically.
The acting in this film was also sub-par. This is somewhat due to Miles being a child actor, but also because the actors were relatively unknown and inexperienced in a thriller role. The biggest star of the film, Taylor Schilling, has not been cast in any other horror movies or intense dramas. Peter Mooney, who played the father, seemed to have the beginnings of an interesting character. However, he disappears midway through the film and never fully realizes the potential of his character.
The Prodigy could’ve been a suspenseful hit; however, it misses on many of its potentially strong points. This film’s legacy will probably die shortly after its release and its set up for a sequel at the end will probably and hopefully never be realized.