The creation of a true horror film is an impressive feat and a bar that is often missed by horror films. However, The Prodigy not only hit the mark of a true horror film, but it surpassed it by a landslide with one of the most original and spine-chilling stories the genre has ever seen.
A few minutes after a notorious serial killer (Paul Fauteux) is killed by the police, the Blume couple welcomes their baby boy, Miles (Jackson Robert Scott). Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and John (Peter Mooney) Blume notice Miles is accelerating quickly in knowledge and skill, and before the age of 10, he is deemed a “miracle” child. When his behavior turns violent and the Blumes notice unexplainable experiences, Sarah begins to fear there are supernatural forces at play.
Words do not begin to describe the performance from Scott. At the ripe age of 10, Scott portrayed an endless amount of emotional depth in portraying two characters, let alone having to switch between them at a moment’s notice. That is a considerable feat, even for an actor with years of training, such as James McAvoy in and . Scott was by far the most incredible choice for the role, and he made the film as amazing as it is.
If Scott was the cake, Taylor Schilling was the icing on top. Schilling’s performance was of a vulnerable, protective matriarch combined with a woman who is only human and dealing with a horrifying situation. Schilling gave a heartbreaking portrayal of a mother simply trying to do what she thinks is best for her son. Scott and Schilling made the perfect pair, and watching them play off each other was electric.
It’s important to note the camerawork in the film. Horror films especially require brilliant cinematography to build suspense and create eerie scenes that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Without the camerawork, the film wouldn’t have been as beautifully twisted as it turned out to be.
A typical mark of a horror film is the use of jump scares, but that technique can prove to be the mark of a lazy horror film. The genre’s reliance on jump scares is seen as a cop-out and are heavily criticized. Thankfully, The Prodigy kept the jump scares to a minimum and instead utilized prolonged moments of build-up combined with truly disturbing imagery and conversation in the narrative to create a continuous stomach-ache for the audience as it wondered what was going to happen next.
Overall, The Prodigy was one of the most truly disturbing horror films of all time with an original story that created unpredictable endings. It’s definitely a must-see, and one that audiences will be thinking about days after watching it.