Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of The Prodigy, a horror thriller that tells the story of a mother that is concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior and thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 92 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott, Colm Feore
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Music by: Joseph Bishara
Written by: Jeff Buhler
Region Code: A
Release Date: May 7, 2019
“Taylor Schilling stars in The Prodigy as Sarah, a mother whose young son Miles’ disturbing behavior signals that an evil, possibly supernatural force has overtaken him.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Sarah and John Blume are thrilled when their young son Miles starts to show signs of rapid development and extreme intelligence. Their family bliss soon turns into a living nightmare when Miles’ behavior becomes increasingly erratic and violent by his eighth birthday. After seeking help from two experts, Sarah is horrified to learn that her beloved prodigy may be under the grip of a dark and supernatural force.
The Prodigy is a more or less paint by the numbers chiller that contains the requisite foundational elements to make for a watchable story. The narrative ticks all the boxes as it begins with a brief and rather bizarre introduction. A bit more background is sort of explained later as things begin to take shape but, it’s clear that this film teeters back and forth between horror and thriller, with neither really generating a palpable sense of dread.
I liked the concept and the inherent potential for a truly dark menace but, we don’t get enough of the “bad guy”. Things quickly unravel in the final act and any steam generated at that point fizzles, leaving a predictable and silly ending. While there is little about The Prodigy that made it stand out, it musters a few moments of creepiness and, one very decent jump scare, to put a mild chill in the air. No, it won’t make the hairs of seasoned genre fans stand up, but those that are more susceptible to typically eerie tales will probably find themselves caught up more often than not.
The rating is for violence, disturbing and bloody images, a sexual reference and brief graphic nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
The Prodigy comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.
This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation. Resolution is excellent with clearly rendered images that exhibit refined levels of detail during close ups and discernible depth of field in wide angle shots. The chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks terrific.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack offers detail rich clarity while making use of the entire surround platform to support the film’s thematic elements. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. Dynamic range is solid which enriches the authority of low frequency effects contained in the mix. There isn’t perpetual use of the surround channels and subwoofer however when applied the effects are involving enough to elevate suspense.
- Audio Commentary by Director Nicholas McCarthy
- 3 Promotional Featurettes
- Theatrical Trailer
- Digital Copy
The Prodigy doesn’t reinvent the genre wheel but, it’s foundational elements make for a watchable chiller. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits mated with a lackluster supplemental offering. The Prodigy won’t thoroughly engage seasoned genre fans, but it’s worth a rental for those looking for a spooky flick on a stormy evening.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems