The Prodigy parents guide

The Prodigy Parent Guide

A competent supernatural horror/thriller, suitable only for adult fans of the genre.

Overall D

A young mother (Taylor Schilling) comes to the horrifying realization that her son's (Jackson Robert Scott) troubling behavior isn't just a phase - he's been taken over by a supernatural power that could destroy everything she loves.

Release date February 8, 2019

Violence D+
Sexual Content C+
Profanity C
Substance Use B-

Why is The Prodigy rated R? The MPAA rated The Prodigy R for violence, disturbing and bloody images, a sexual reference and brief graphic nudity

Run Time: 92 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

After spending years trying to have a child, Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and her husband John (Peter Mooney) are thrilled to finally be on the verge of realizing their dream. Even her premature labor doesn’t lessen their excitement. Their delight only increases when the child, who they name Miles is clearly a prodigy: he speaks at a very early age and earns high scores on intelligence tests. However, their elation begins to wane when they notice that Miles isn’t quite like other children. Following some very strange occurrences, Sarah and John take Miles to the doctor, who in turn refers them to specialist Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore). Jacobson tells Sarah that he believes Miles may be housing the reincarnated soul of someone with unfinished business on Earth…and that business may be dangerous.

The Prodigy is a horror movie, so parents know they can expect to encounter negative content. But this film is unusual: aside from the first and last 10 minutes, the other 72 minutes contains almost completely unobjectionable material. The 20 minutes of negative content contain standard horror movie violence but it isn’t nearly as graphic as classic slasher films like Saw or Halloween. The Prodigy is more of a supernatural horror/thriller, spending its time building tension and discomfort without waving bloody, mangled bodies in your face every five minutes. That said, the gore that makes it on to the screen is graphic and would easily upset queasy viewers.

As far as production value goes, The Prodigy is competently shot and edited without doing anything particularly noteworthy or unusual. This, unfortunately, reflects the rest of the film. While it doesn’t do anything wrong per se, it also brings very little by way of new or compelling material to the genre. Although the ending is a little darker (and no, I won’t say how) than some other possession-style horror movies, I had still predicted it 45 minutes beforehand.

The Prodigy chugs along just fine for its 92-minute runtime without dragging or stalling out, but doesn’t subvert any expectations. However, it’s still not a bad way for horror fans to spend that time. It does a respectable job of building and maintaining tension, sprinkled throughout with enough scares to keep it from slipping into boredom. Entertaining? Certainly. Prodigious? Not hardly.

Directed by Nicholas McCarthy. Starring Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott, and Colm Feore. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release February 8, 2019. Updated

The Prodigy
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Prodigy rated R? The Prodigy is rated R by the MPAA for violence, disturbing and bloody images, a sexual reference and brief graphic nudity

Violence: An individual’s severed hand is shown. A man is shot repeatedly in the chest, with some blood. An individual steps on broken glass in the dark and is shown attempting to remove the shards. A child is struck repeatedly with a heavy pipe wrench. A bloody rag is shown and is covering a larger puddle of blood which is full of maggots. A dead dog is shown with graphic injuries. Several corpses and severed hands are shown in black and white photographs. A character is stabbed in the abdomen with garden shears and crashes a car. An individual is stabbed repeatedly in the hands, chest, and stomach with a kitchen knife. A woman threatens a woman with a firearm. A woman threatens a child with a gun. Police shoot a man in front of a house. A woman has her hand amputated.
Sexual Content: An individual threatens to accuse an innocent man of child sexual abuse in very graphic terms as an attempt at blackmail. Full frontal nudity of a male figure, including a possible glimpse of his genitals.  A man and woman kiss.
Profanity: There 10 uses of profanity, including one sexual expletive, two sexual references, and two terms of deity, as well as other mild obscenities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Two adults are shown having a beer together but are not shown intoxicated. A man smokes a cigarette.

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Though much more on the religious end of supernatural horror, the classic possession film is, of course, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist (1973) as directed by William Friedkin. Certainly much tamer than modern horror films, including this one, The Exorcist remains a staple of the genre.

In that same vein, last year’s The Possession of Hannah Grace is a similar kind of horror movie as The Prodigy- competent but uninspiring. It is also a more action-oriented film, so viewers who found The Prodigy entertaining but a little slow might want to give it a look.