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Rule #236 of horror movies: never have children; no good can come from it. They either turn out to be evil or prove to be a huge liability when trying to escape whatever horror is tormenting you. That timeless lesson is affirmed in the unsettling and creepy trailer for The Prodigy, which finds a young mother concerned about her son's disturbing behavior. Check it out below.
This trailer takes a very minimalistic approach to selling The Prodigy and it is to its benefit. Instead of giving us a bunch of scares or over-explaining the story, the trailer simply gives us the tone, the basic premise and one good scare, leaving everything else to our imagination.
What works really well is that this trailer is very slow and methodical, building the tension throughout the first minute with just a simple scene. Instead of lulling us in to calm trance where we feel safe and relaxed, the metronome is deeply unsettling, acting as a harbinger of the inescapable darkness to come.
The tagline for The Prodigy is 'What's wrong with Miles?' and the answer is clearly, 'a lot'. This trailer does a good job of letting you ask yourself that question for the first minute or so. We see that this kid is in some sort of therapy and he has mismatched colored eyes, but you're left to speculate what exactly is going on.
Colm Feore's delivery here is super creepy, and you know that even though what he is saying seems innocuous enough, a turn is coming. And come it does when he tells Miles that they are going back to the time before this body.
At that point I was thinking that Miles is some sort of reincarnation of a past evil but, Colm Feore's character then implies that some sort of supernatural force (Paimon?) is possessing Miles. Even then the trailer holds back by not showing us Miles' response.
Delivering a major jump scare at the end of a relatively calm trailer seems to be a trend of late and the trailer for The Prodigy delivers on that account. Miles tells his mother, played by Orange is the New Black's Taylor Schilling that he is scared, and he runs into her arms at which point he turns into a naked dude that grabs her by the head. Next time tell that kid to suck it up and go back to sleep.
It's fascinating that this trailer doesn't explicitly show what Jackson Robert Scott's Miles' did to that causes his mother so much concern, or what exactly makes him the prodigy of the movie's title.
We see that he is a talented artist, but that's about it. Presumably while Miles is excelling at some things, some of his other behavior sets off the alarm bells. There are flashes of a door being broken through and somebody running, but we don't yet know if those flashes are memories of Miles' life or those of whatever is possessing him.
The Prodigy is directed by Nicholas McCarthy, whose last feature film was 2014's At the Devil's Door. The script for the film comes from Jeff Buhler, who has a positively huge 2019 having worked on the scripts for The Prodigy, Jacob's Ladder, Grudge and Pet Sematary. Clearly horror is his thing and he has a lot of film's vying for a position of prominence in the ongoing horror renaissance.