Review: The Prodigy

A woman is disturbed by her eight year old son’s increasingly violent behaviour in The Prodigy. One night, a woman named Margaret St. James (Brittany Allen) escapes from the clutches of serial killer Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux), who is then gunned down by police. At the same time, expecting mother Sarah (Taylor Schilling) goes into labor and gives birth to her son Miles. Born with heterochromic eyes, Miles displays genius intelligence beyond someone his age. However, by the time he turns eight, Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) begins to exhibit more violent behaviour, which reaches the point where she employs the help of Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), a reincarnation researcher who believes the soul of Edward Scarka is inhabiting Miles’ body.

The Prodigy is the latest in a long line of evil child horror films, directed by Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact). The film stars Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black) as new mother Sarah, who begins to suspect that something is not right with her son Miles. After hearing him speak in tongues in his sleep and an attack on a classmate in his school, Sarah seeks some help for Miles and is given the disturbing news by Arthur Jacobson that Miles’ body is inhabited by the soul of a serial killer, who is very close to taking over for good.

The “evil child” plot is nothing new to the horror genre, with probably the most well known example being 1976’s The Omen. Probably the element that differentiates The Prodigy from other evil child films is that instead the offspring of the devil, the film takes a page out of the Child’s Play series and has Miles inhabited by the soul of a deceased serial killer. This results in Miles saying and doing things an eight year old kid should never do, as well as a few jump scares, involving Miles suddenly physically morphing into Edward Scarka.

I am going to go straight out and say that I found The Prodigy to be a very excruciating and cliche film that makes you wish they stop making these evil child horror films. There isn’t an original bone in this film’s body, as it tries to shock the audience by having the lead child actor curse and commit extremely violent acts, not to mention the hint of incestuous feelings between this “boy” and his mother. Probably the most positive thing I have to say that The Prodigy is the brief but solid performance by Colm Feore as the exposition-spouting Arthur Jacobson, which is a role that Feore does well.

If you’ve seen one evil child film, you’ve seen them all, and I highly recommend that you skip The Prodigy in favour of a rewatch of The Omen or one of the other better films of this subgenre.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).