I’m getting an Omen without the religious overtones feel with this one. Anyone else?
The story looks like it’s about a loving mother who just found out that her son might be evil, or possessed.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jackson Robert Scott (IT ) and Taylor Schilling (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK [2013 – ongoing]).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Nicholas McCarthy, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Penning the screenplay is Jeff Buhler, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and upcoming films PET SEMATARY (2019) and GRUDGE (2020). Composing the score is Joseph Bishara, known for INSIDIOUS: LAST KEY (2018), CONJURING (2013) and 2 (2016), ANNABELLE (2014), and upcoming films THE CURSE OF LA LLORINA (2019) and ROOM FOR RENT (2019). The cinematographer is Bridger Nielson, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Finally, co-editing are Tom Elkins (FLATLINERS , INFERNO , and the upcoming CHILD’S PLAY ) and Brian Ufberg (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of).
Mmmm…. hard to say. Usually horror films during January and February aren’t good, so I’m inclined to believe the presented pattern. But I have no idea. Definitely going to be a jump-scare fest. I think the only way this movie can be good is if the story really presents the question of whether or not this kid is possessed by something evil, or if he’s just a bad egg. So far, the movie is keeping their cards close to its chest. Whether or not that’s going to pay off in a clever way remains to be seen. Best guess, it’s not. But I’ve been surprised before.
This is my honest opinion of: THE PRODIGY
Eight years ago, Miles Bloom was born. In less than a year, he developed speech, giving the impression that he might be developing faster. At five years old, he proved that he is of higher development and is incredibly smart, but is lacking development in other areas, and displays acts of cruelty to insects. Now, Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) seems to be a normal kid… up until he attacks a fellow classmate with a pipe wrench, and has also been seen muttering what his mother Sarah (Taylor Schilling) believes to be gibberish. However, taking Miles to a child psychologist leads to an undetermined diagnosis, but the gibberish, which was caught on a tape recorder, is actually a rare dialect of Hungarian, and another psychologist, Dr. Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), believes that Miles is actually a host to a resurrected soul of a very dangerous man.
Mmmph… yeah, this isn’t very good. But… the kid was pretty good.
Yeah, I sort of called it in my initial impressions. The only way this movie could be good is if they really put the idea into question if the kid was possessed or just evil. Turns out, they answer that in the first few minutes. Not by a ghost or anything, but by a “resurrected” dead dude with unfinished business. So you may be saying to yourself, “So… a ghost?” But… no! It’s not a ghost! It’s a dead dude who is now possessing a kid! And I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, a ghost.” NO!! Don’t you understand?! It’s not a ghost!! It’s just… not a ghost.
You see what the problem is here? It’s the WALKING DEAD of ghost movies; too afraid to just say the damn proper word.
Okay, so first big problem that I had is the rules of the possession. So, Miles has been possessed by Scarka since he was born. Question… why has it been such a challenge for him to take over this kid? I mean, barely any of this makes sense. So, is Miles naturally a gifted kid, or is it a result of Scarka? Was Scarka a super intelligent person? Was Miles simply gaining Scarka’s adult intelligence and it’s carrying over making everyone think that Miles was super smart, when in actuality, he’s just adult-average smart? And why did he wait eight years to finish his unfinished business?! When does his possession kick in? Why does it go away? At first, I was thinking that it’s the traditional “witching hour” thing, midnight to freakishly early morning where the possession is in effect. But, no, it’s established pretty early on that it can happen during the day and pretty fuckin’ randomly too. So with that in mind, <<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ why does it take this kid so long to try and find that woman who escaped? I mean, this kid could have easily stolen the car at night with some sharp stabby item, killed her, fake freaked out to the authorities, made his parents look like bad parents who abused him, and continued his reign of terror of torturing and murdering women in his own unique and fucked up way. Hell, now, he’s got a great alibi to fall back on: he’s an innocent kid being controlled by a veteran psychopathic murderer. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>> Ultimately, nothing truly makes sense with this character. Oh, and why does Sarah get a freaky dream? Yeah, the trailer for the movie is an entire scene and it makes about as much sense as anything else in the movie. Since when does everything that’s happening to Miles affect her too? What’s even stranger is that it’s the only freaky dream that she gets in the entire movie, so the editors could have edited that entire thing out and missed absolutely nothing.
Another huge problem with this movie is that the doctors that Sarah deals with might be the worst doctors on the face of the Earth. What certified and licensed psychological professional legitimately believes in the concept of reincarnation and tries to put it into their professional practice?! This is a terrific way of getting your license revoked or suspended. This is quite baffling and everyone is playing it straight. I’d laugh if I wasn’t so bored.
Speaking of boredom, the movie’s not scary. Honestly, half the jump-scares that I got from this flick were from the ear-bleedingly loud screaming from the girls in the audience that would jump at their own shadows. It weirdly focuses on imagery that’s supposed to shock you, like maggots on blood stains, as if this is one of the more disturbing moments of the movie. The rest of the movie hinges on scenes that are just about Miles saying something shocking, like, “Fuck you,” or something along those lines. Because… kids never curse? Eh, it’s just not scary.
By the way, take a look at my poster for the movie at the bottom of the review. You notice how Taylor Schilling has a pair of disembodied hands on her shoulder? That’s, uh… that’s nothing. No joke, that’s never in the movie in any way shape or form. The closest is the scene that’s in the trailer where Miles runs up to Sarah in fear, but then from the shadows, a scary-ass grown dude tries to throttle her. But… yeah, as you can probably surmise, not disembodied hands. This is false advertisement to the max, yo! Not that the inclusion of those hands would have made anything better, but still. The creepy kid was enough.
As I said, the best part about this movie is Scott as Miles. Somehow, the directing of this kid and his personality never quite achieves true horror, but never unintentionally traverses into the realm of silliness. You acknowledge that the entity in him is threatening and isn’t dumb, but you sort of sit there with this grin on your face. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it kind of does. I don’t know how to properly explain it, but Scott really nails his performance from being a threatening dick-munch to a scared and sympathetic kid whose life is being stolen away from him and he’s literally unable to do anything about it. He’s scared and confused and you really feel for him. <<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ Even by the end of the movie, when you really think about it, this ends on a pretty sadistic note. Never mind that this movie kind of pointlessly sequel-baits itself, but it ends on a seriously downer note too. I mean, Miles is dead. His soul is completely extinguished by Scarka (Paul Fauteux) and the last time he existed was being told by his mom that she would love him always. That’s kind of sick, but still a little ballsy too. I don’t care to see a sequel, but I really hope Scott gets more roles like this. He’s got a promising future as a young actor. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
Overall, this movie is pretty lame. It’s not scary, so it fails as a horror film, the evil ghost thing is confusing on how its “powers” work, as well as the motivations make no sense, making this one of the lesser horror films made in recent years. And of course, dumb doctors and dumb adults. Seriously, Sarah makes all the wrong choices. ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK can only hold you afloat forever, Schilling! Don’t be afraid to tell your agent he sucks as his job! With that said, the acting isn’t bad. Schilling, Feore, and Mooney all do a serviceable job with that they have, and of course, Scott steals the show and is legit the best part of the movie. As a recommendation, it’s a pass. Save it for a rental at best, but even then, you’re not missing much. It’s not a good movie, but it’s far from the worst that I’ve seen.
My honest rating for THE PRODIGY: a weak 3/5
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