THE PRODIGY (2019) Reviews and worth watching

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‘There’s something wrong with Miles’
The Prodigy is a 2019 American-Hong Kong supernatural horror feature film directed by Nicholas McCarthy (HolidaysAt the Devil’s DoorThe Pact) from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler (Pet Sematary, 2019). It was produced by Tara Farney and Tripp Vinson (The RiteThe Exorcism of Emily Rose). The Vinson Films production stars Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott , Peter Mooney, Colm Feore, and Brittany Allen.

A mother is concerned about her young son’s disturbing behaviour and starts to think that something supernatural may be affecting him…

“There are a few chilling moments, particularly involving Miles’ encounters with a classmate and a babysitter, and a couple of gasp-inducing ones that are best left unspoiled, but it’s only during the film’s climax that The Prodigy attempts to skirt predictability – and when it does, it’s really something.” Crooked Marquee

” …The Prodigy shows flickers of something better, moments of adrenaline-fueled thrills and unconventional jolts that ultimately are just pieces lost in an over-familiar plot. There’s still plenty of fun to be had in the theater with this one, just don’t expect it to take you anywhere you haven’t been before.” Collider

“It’s an unscary scary movie that quickly abandons the very thing that might have made it interesting (ie, the disturbing quality of childhood genius – which is to say, the thing in the title) in favour of tiresome jump scares, bad child acting, bad grownup acting and untied plot strands designed to facilitate a terrible franchise, like The Conjuring or Insidious.” The Guardian

The Prodigy tells us too much too early, and misses out on important details. There’s no explanation given for why Miles or why this family, so it feels more like a parade of mild misery. In the end, The Prodigy fails to build up enough momentum to be scary, and only manages to be sad and pointless.” Polygon

” …if there’s something wrong with Miles, it’s that his creators don’t do much with him. They wind him up, and expect viewers to be impressed, because hey, Violent Children are creepy! Unfortunately, the film’s scare scenes aren’t even well-executed.”

” …adds a twist where it concerns the cause of the child’s unsettling behavior. While the resulting film generally succeeds at being macabre, it doesn’t go far enough to really break the mold for its subgenre. The Prodigy is an often chilling and disturbing – if not particularly meaningful or impactful – horror movie weighed down its by derivative plot.” Screen Rant

“Nicholas McCarthy, the director of the new bad-seed movie, The Prodigy, works in a low key that still somehow scrapes your nerves, so when the nasty stuff arrives, you realize (too late!) that you’ve been softened up for the kill. The film is cruelly well-made.” Vulture

Cast and characters:

  • Taylor Schilling … Sarah
  • Peter Mooney … John – We Were Wolves
  • Colm Feore … Arthur Jacobson – Buckout Road
  • Brittany Allen … Margaret St. James – Jigsaw
  • Jackson Robert Scott … Miles – IT
  • Olunike Adeliyi … Rebecca
  • David Kohlsmith … Miles, aged five years-old
  • Mark Sparks … Lead S.W.A.T. Officer
  • Byron Abalos … Penmark Instructor
  • Michael Dyson … Farmer
  • Ava Augustin … Penmark Student
  • Ashley Black … Hailey

The Prodigy was released theatrically in the USA by Orion Pictures on February 8th 2019. The MPAA has rated the movie ‘R’.

Box office:
According to Box Office Mojo, the film took $6,004,403 at 2,530 theaters over its opening weekend. The reported budget was $6 million.

Film Facts:

  • The film’s working title was Descendant.
  • This 2019 production should not be confused with Prodigy (2017) which was directed by Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal.

As part of the movie’s promotion, artist Gary Pullin created three retro-style posters. Available in lime green, red-orange, and turquoise backgrounds, each poster depicts the main character Miles standing menacingly in a doorway, whilst casting a  shadow in the shape of a hammer.

Commenting, Pullin said: “As a horror fan, I have fond memories of the Orion logo blazing across the screen and being inspired by their films. To say the least, I’m beyond thrilled to be teaming up with them on some upcoming releases. It’s an exciting time for the horror genre and I think The Prodigy excels as a stand-alone homage to 1970’s horror thrillers, I can’t wait for fans to see the film and to see the artwork we’ve been cooking up together.”

The limited edition 24 x 36 inch posters can be purchased via Gary Pullin’s website

NB. Orion Pictures was originally formed in 1978. Some of their notable genre releases include Amityville II: The Possession (1982), The Return of the Living Dead (1984), The Terminator (1984), The Believers (1987), RoboCop (1987) and its sequels, George A. Romero’s Monkey Shines (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

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