Following the birth of their son Miles, a married couple notices that Miles is developing at an astounding rate and he’s deemed gifted. But soon, they notice that along with his intelligence, Miles is also developing some dark and twisted behavior.
The film begins with an opening scene that reveals right away of what’s up with Miles. So unless you’re pretty clueless, the audience knows long before the couple of why Miles is the way he is. This kind of jumps the shark, admittedly, but doesn’t make the concept any less interesting and fresh enough for the evil kid genre. It does often make it pretty creepy though in certain situations involving Miles and other characters, especially his mom. Despite the fresher concept, being an evil kid movie, it does have the typical tropes you would expect. Creepy stares, the killing of animals, creepy comments. However, each of these are still pretty damn effective. And the reason why a lot of this works is due to the performance of Jackson Robert Scott. This kid crushes the role of Miles and does an excellent job of switching between evil and innocent. The other scare factors involved though do not work and it doesn’t help that they’re repetitive. We have many moments of the mom wandering around in the dark with the occasional jump scare involved.
And then we have the ending, I was fine with it enough, but it was essentially the same ending as another particular evil kid movie, which is the only issue I had with it. Some may not like the ending, but it’s nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest flaws with the movie for me involve the roles of the parents. They are so dull and uninteresting, and I really didn’t care about them. The performances of Taylor Schilling and Peter Mooney as Miles’ parents were…okay, but they were also very one-note, especially from Schilling who goes through the whole moving with a shocked, but bordering sour look on her face. However, I like that the husband/dad knew well enough to haul ass when shit started getting too crazy instead of being the super disbelieving father character.
The Prodigy isn’t a great horror movie, but if you’re into evil kid horror, you’ll definitely enjoy this one, especially due to the newer concept. But it does owe major credit to films like The Omen, Orphan, and My Soul to Take.