Imagine a horror film written by a movie writing robot governed by the following instructions – 1) “Child genius is possessed by a dead serial killer”. 2) Must have a great score. 3) Cliché-o-meter turned up to 11 – the result would be Nicholas (The Pact ) McCarthy’s run-of-the-mill, mass-produced Hollywood horror-thriller The Prodigy.

After a suspenseful but cliched start, we are introduced to Miles (Jackson Robert Scott, IT), son of overjoyed parents Sarah (Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black) and John (Peter Mooney). Joy turns to elation as Miles develops into a young genius who starts attending a school to match his growing talents.

However, all is not well and Miles begins behave increasingly erratically and creepily, with seemingly no explanation. It is in the search for answers surrounding this transition from genius to serial killer where the film fails to take off, and ultimately leads to laugh-out-loud horror movie clichés which detract from moments of genuine suspense.

Schilling in her first horror role delivers as a protective mother who is blind to the evil lurking in her son and Robert Scott is great at playing creepy children, with Miles delivering scares throughout. But even a haunting and troubling score by Joseh Bishara can’t lift this film beyond the confines of a poor script which doesn’t hold up to any form of scrutiny, with sluggish direction from McCarthy relying too heavily on clichés and tropes to be a film that I would recommend watching.

Movie Review: The Prodigy
2.0Overall Score
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