Having children in horror films can be a difficult thing. Since they are usually too young to see horror films themselves, film makers have to find a way to make the film work, without making the experience too scary for the children to feel comfortable. Luckily a lot of directors know how to work with children in a positive and inspiring way. And as long as the project feels serious and guarantee the safety of the child, a lot of us can relate to horror films with children. Because let´s be honest, remember when you were a child and saw a scary film, how did you feel ? I remember the first time i saw A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 on rental VHS at my grandmother´s appartment back in the 80´s. I was too young to watch this, but i did anyway. I could not sleep very much after that. When it comes to films with children included into a horror story, we have a lot of titles to choose between. One of my personal favourites is without a doubt The Omen, released in 1976. The story of Damien, a child who is the actual Antichrist. Directed by legendary director Richard Donner ( one of his best films in his career, even if i really enjoy Superman II and Lethal Weapon ), this horror film works so well, because of the evil atmosphere. The acting from legendary actor Gregory Peck and actress Lee Remick works really well, and we also get a great performance from legendary actor David Warner. Actor Harvey Spencer Travis ( who played young Damian ) also did a great job, doing his role at that very young age. The sequel Damien: Omen II is actually not bad, but not as good as the original film. I think the reason why Omen II is good is because this film managed to keep the atmosphere from the first film, and still tell a different story as Damien is now a 12 year old boy ( played by a different actor, Jonathan Scott Taylor ). Omen III: The Final Conflict is to me the worst of the three films ( there is a 2006 remake of the original film, that is nowhere near as good as The Omen from 1976 ). Earlier this year i started reading cinema reviews about a horror film called The Prodigy. A horror film that tells the story of a creepy child, sounds like my cup of tea. Is this a surprisingly good horror film, or is The Prodigy another release you will easily forget about ?
On August 22, 2010 in Ohio, serial killer Edward Scarka ( Paul Fauteux ) is shot dead during a police at his farmhouse. Edward collected female hands, but one of his victims managed to survive. At the time of Edward´s death, married couple Sarah Blume ( Taylor Schilling ) and John Blume ( Peter Mooney ) give birth to their son Miles, in Pennsylvania. From an early age, it seems that Miles is very intelligent. He learns things quickly, while he might have a problem with his social Life, not having any friends. As Miles ( Jackson Robert Scott ) turns 8 years old, he is behaving very strange, and disturbing. At first Sarah is not worried about her son, but after seeing some really disturbing behavior from Miles, she is about to find out that maybe there is another reason to why Miles is not being an ordinary child.
The Prodigy shows you why you should be careful about certain children. If you see one who kill dogs, beat down other kids with dangerous objects and speak old Hungarian language, this should all be a big warning sign that they might be Jehovah´s Witnesses. Miles is exactly the kid no one would want to have, especially after his body have been taken over by the spirit of a serial killer. I would not say that The Prodigy brings anything new to the table, but this film does work with a killer child ( especially one scene is very effective in a kitchen towards the end ). Let´s talk about the characters. Child actor Jackson Robert Scott gives the best performance in this film. To play a role like this at his age, is of course impressive. Even if he does not do a lot of dialogue, it is the scenes where he speaks little and give some strange looks that gives you a creepy feeling. Actress Taylor Schilling ( who you might have seen in Netflix series Orange Is The New Black ) also give a solid performance. One of the characters i actually feel is very interesting, is the recarnation expert Arthur, played by actor Colm Feore ( remember him as Lord Marshal in The Chronicles Of Riddick ? ). Colm give the character Arthur the right depth, and professional look that this kind of character needs. So how does The Prodigy work as a horror film ? I would say that as a horror film focusing on a child, this is not a bad piece of work. The atmosphere feels connected to the disturbing background story, and i especially feel that it was the right choice to tell the story of an unsetteled spirit, instead of another demon possessed body with exorcism. Director Nicholas McCarthy ( who directed the 2012 film The Pact, somewhat of a cult film for some horror fans ) have made a horror film that will be appreciated by fans of The Omen and the great horror film Orphan. The Prodigy is a good choice for a horror film this summer on DVD or Blu Ray, especially during family gatherings. After all, i know there are other kids like Miles out there, who just want to have fun…..