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HORROR

The Prodigy: An Easily Digestible And Entertaining Horror

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You took my son’s soul…
you can’t have his body

 

Murderous children or those possessed by dark forces appear in horror movies on a regularly base. Sometimes it’s a diabolical power that possesses them. Damien from “The Omen” and Regan in “The Exorcist” are good examples. Or it’s the mental condition that turns lovely little boys into horrible little monsters like Luke in “Better watch out” and Chavs in “Eden Lake“. In “The Prodigy” Miles develops a deviant behavior pattern as he gets older. This cuddly little boy appears to have a dual personality. One moment he snuggles into his mother’s arms. The next moment he looks at her demonically. Such an evil look that gives you goosebumps instantly. Verily, there’s something wrong with these Miles (Jackson Robert Scott).

 

The Prodigy

 

The movie surprised me.

To be honest I was pleasantly surprised by “The Prodigy“. Admittedly, it’s not very original and the film makes good use of all known tricks from the horror genre. Yet this film managed to make me feel uncomfortable. And I even felt a slight form of tension. And that was mainly achieved by the acting of the young Jackson Robert Scott. A little guy who’s years ahead of other kids in terms of intelligence. But when his use of language during his sleep (in a Hungarian dialect) takes on a fairly mature tone and he tackles fellow students with a heavy wrench, a sense of suspicion begins to increase on his mother Sarah (Taylor Schilling). The result is an adult psychological game that unfolds between mother and son.

 

The Prodigy

 

Slow paced.

Jef Buhler (scriptwriter of, among others, “Pet Sematary“, “Jacob’s Ladder” and next year’s film “The Grudge“) takes his time here and slowly builds up the tension. Hence the slow pace at the start of the film. Which for once I didn’t experience as disturbing. It’s only when spiritualist Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore) is introduced that the pace goes up. Here it also becomes clear what the opening scene has to do with this sweet-looking youngster who’s troubled by behavioral problems. Fragments of a psychopath shot down by a special unit and the birth of Miles are being linked to each other. And then the term reincarnation comes up. An explanation that suddenly makes everything clearer. Unfortunately, the motivation why this all happens is easy to guess.

 

The Prodigy

 

An entertaining horror.

The Prodigy” is an easily digestible and entertaining horror, despite the predictability and a not so ingeniously put together story. The acting work of Jackson Robert Scott and Taylor Schilling makes up for a lot. Expect some excitement, some jump scares and for some perhaps a surprising denouement. In recent years, a few films have been released with bombastic statements claiming to be the “Scariest horror in years” or “More frightening than The Exorcist“. “The Prodigy” surpasses them all. Without magniloquent slogans. Ergo, highly recommended.

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

Prey | 20th Century Studios | Hulu

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

20222 (Hulu)

Director:

Dan Trachtenberg

Cast:

Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Stefany Mathias

Plot Summary:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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HORROR

Choose or Die – A Miss For Netflix

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Netflix’s home page suggestions can always be hit or miss, and unfortunately its latest release ‘Choose or Die’ falls into the category of the latter. Captivated by Asa Butterfield on the poster, I was curious to see what this film had to offer and begrudgingly it didn’t have a lot.

We follow Kayla, a broke student who has a lot to deal with in terms of her family situation and being the sole provider for herself and her mum. She then stumbles upon a retro video game from the 80s which forces her to choose and ultimately leads to various chain reactions of horrific events involving people close to her.

Lola Evans as Kayla and Asa Butterfield as Isaac

The premise of the film sounds interesting, however, I think it swings and misses quite early into the film’s first act. Eddie Marsan sets the tone and trail of interest for Choose or Die as we are introduced to this sadistic game and the chain of events it will inevitably pursue. 

Choose or Die doesn’t make it easy to empathise with its characters, finding any connection to Kayla or Isaac was difficult. This ‘are they aren’t they’ subplot lingers throughout the film’s narrative but adds nothing to the overarching story. The supporting characters, such as Thea and Laura, are much more interesting and genuinely have you intrigued as to what decisions they will make.

What stood out to me was the violent and gore-like scenes of 80s horrors, with some pretty good stomach churning special effects make-up. Those intense scenes, one involving a rat, had me genuinely glued to the screen, anticipating what may happen next. Choose or Die’s strongest component are the early moral decisions Kayla has to make and ultimately demonstrate Meakin’s passion for the horror genre.

Ioanna Kimbook as Grace in Choose or Die, seen here in the diner in one of the more grotesque decisive moments for Kayla

The way in which this film is shot, felt very “student-esque” with its lackluster camera movements and setting. The set design lacked little depth, except for Isaac’s room which is full of detail, therefore making the world feel small and less three dimensional. An element which pulled me out of this cinematic experience, was the fact that this was evidently filmed in the United Kingdom, and the cast contained predominantly a lot of British actors doing an American accent so I wasn’t fully immersed into this world. 

Meakins clearly uses his passion for the horror genre to influence this film’s dark tone, from it’s leading characters’ moral compass as well as the gorey visuals that inevitably come with those decisions. The whole world feels cold and derelict, be it the place in which Kayla cleans or the housing estate of which she lives in, this is an unwelcoming world that no-one wants to comfort you in. 

Choose or Die isn’t a film that will stick out as one that defined 2022, however I’m sure someone will take something away from this film, be it’s reference to 80s gaming or the violent and graphic elements that the director is clearly passionate about. 

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Off Season – To Premiere Exclusively on Shudder

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Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, announced that OFFSEASON will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on Friday, June 10, 2022. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, in OFFSEASON, Marie (Donahue) quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.

Check out the film’s trailer below and read our review HERE as it debuted during SXSW 2021

Written and directed by Mickey Keating (Psychopaths), OFFSEASON stars Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep), Joe Swanberg (The Rental, “Easy”), Richard Brake (3 From HellMandy), Melora Walters (The Pale Door, “Pen15”) and Jeremy Gardner (After MidnightThe Mind’s Eye).

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