‘THE PRODIGY’: Ho-Hum of a Spiritual Thriller

The new year is off to what I will refer to as the “squeaky-wheeled shopping cart” start for horror movies; moves with a jerky, uncooperative start that makes a lot of God-awful noise before it finally smooths to a casual move. And that is what “The Prodigy” makes.

We begin with two seemingly unrelated events; the police shooting down a deranged psychopath, who has a serious habit of cutting off his victims’ hands, and a baby born to new parents happening many miles away.

Jackson Robert and Taylor Schilling

Jackson Robert and Taylor Schilling

Things seem to be going all right until the baby shows signs of developing early, much to the excitement to the parents who have “Hooray, we have genius for a son!” in their wide eyes.

Playing the caring mother is “Orange is the New Black” alumni Taylor Schilling who starts to see the oddness of her 8-year-old son Miles, played by Jackson Robert Scott of 2017’s remake of “It,” namely his mumbling of an unknown language in his sleep. The investigation is turned over to therapist Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore). He discovers that Miles holds the soul of not only himself but of the psychopath who was killed soon before he was born.

The idea itself is interesting as a script. Sadly, the attempt from director Nicholas McCarthy comes off as a lazy combination of 1977’s “Audrey Rose” (another film dealing with the notion of reincarnation based on the book by Frank De Felitta) with a nod to 1976’s seminal horror film “The Omen” and only offers a few jump scares to sustain the genre. Despite strong performances from Schilling, Scott and Feore, there is no reason that this film should be remembered.

GRADE: F