The Prodigy 2019 ***

Stephen King writes in his book Danse Macabre about the horror fan’s search for the diamond in the rough; the unexpected thrill of finding a real chill amongst the slew of cheap thrills in horror cinema. The Prodigy is a fairly standard programmer, but it has a classy pedigree and is well worth it for genre fans. Even if you’re not familiar with Orange is the New Black, Taylor Schilling is a cut above the usual scream queen. She’s a mother who suspects that the soul of a serial killer, recently executed by cops, now inhabits the body of her son, played by Jackson Robert Scott, who plays George in It.  So it’s the Omen meets Childs Play as the sweet-looking boy murders his nanny, terrorises a child psychologist and generally does a Jekyll and Hyde routine that keeps his mom and the audience on their toes. There’s no great pretentions here, just a brisk funhouse ride of shocks, notably ones where the child suddenly takes on the face of the killer. Keying into fears of being alienated from a younger generation, or having our sins passed onto them, The Prodigy is sober-minded and never indulges its audience; it’s no great shakes, but it doesn’t let thrill-seekers down over a terse 90 mins.


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