The Prodigy is now out in cinemas giving us another unsettling bad-seed style child horror movie .

Taylor Schilling, from Orange is the New Black, plays Sarah, a mother trying to help her son Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) who is behaving strangely.

It turns out a serial killer's soul is taking over Miles' body treating it like a host.

Instead of the usual demon we have a reincarnated soul at the heart of the horror. The serial killer Edward Scarka is killed at the start of the movie by a SWAT team circling his home exactly at the same time little Miles was born.

Jeff Buhler, the film's screenwriter, has said he was inspired by Audrey Rose , the 1977 horror film where a man is convinced a little girl is his reincarnated daughter.

 

Miles is taken over by Scarka so that by the time he turns eight he's dousing his dinner in paprika (Scarka is Hungarian) and he's maiming his babysitter.

Sarah is determined to save Miles, even when he bashes in a classmate with a wrench. He's seen as very intelligent at first, but soon, as his behaviour gets worse, they realise something much worse is going on.

Hypnotism

Sarah follows the advice of a school behavioural specialist and takes Miles to see another sort of doctor, Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), who hypnotises him confirming he's been taken over by Scarka. His eyes should have given it away really - he has heterochromia, two different coloured eyes just like the killer.

Scarka blackmails the doctor into keeping quiet meaning Sarah is still in the dark.

 

Sarah finds the clippings

Gradually Sarah pieces it all together herself and embarks on a mission to finish what Scarka started so his soul can move on. She finds a stash of clippings in Miles' room detailing Scarka's past exploits as well as the one that got away - Margaret St James.

The question is how far will Sarah go?

Finding Scarka's last victim

This is where things escalate. Sarah stops at a store to buy a gun and drugs Miles so she can drive to Margaret St. James's home - earlier he stabbed his father as they drove to drop him off at a specialist care facility leading to the crashing the car. She's not taking any chances.

Sarah is trying to help Scarka finish his last kill, but as she talks to St James she realises this woman has children too. Sarah now faces a dilemma - save her son, but kill another child's mother.

Sarah shakes as she tries to put the bullets in the gun in the toilet, only pausing to come face to face with her own reflection.

She returns to the kitchen where she and St James had been talking and with her hands shaking realises she can't do it.

She puts the gun down on the table, but it's too late.

The decision is taken out of her hands as Miles enters the house, taking a huge knife and plunging it repeatedly into St James as she writhes on the kitchen floor.

Sarah can only pull him off as he stares unblinking. Miles/Scarka has completed his unfinished business, but wait...

 

Was Miles/Scarka awake?

When Miles was drugged in the car and fell asleep he was pretending. Sarah was warned about this earlier in the movie when Jacobson said Scarka is very, very good at fooling people. Miles/Scarka had been awake the whole time. When Miles rocks up in the kitchen to kill St James it's because he knew what was going on.

Now it becomes clear, Scarka has manipulated Sarah from the start, he was always more Scarka than her son Miles. Sarah kicking her husband out, driving Miles to St James' house and even trying to kill her was all what Scarka wanted.

At least Sarah was right about one thing, Scarka did want to murder the one that got away. From the moment she realised Scarka was inside her son she's played into his hands - that laptop left open earlier, he knew she knew, but he needed her to drive him to St James', that stash of clippings, well the board was loose on purpose.

 

The final twist

That's not it either, there's one final twist.

St James now dead Sarah thinks it's all over. Scarka tells Sarah that Miles is gone as he kneels in the field outside St James' house. He tells her Miles was gone ages ago, all that advice Jacobson gave her meant nothing.

Sarah plays into his hands pulling her gun on Miles/Scarka. We hear a shot, but Sarah hasn't shot Miles a farmer has shot Sarah.

We see Miles/Scarka getting dropped off with a foster family seemingly innocent and scared, but there are hints Scarka is there. Miles/Scarka stares at the foster mum's hand reminding us of Scarka's obsession. 

He's now free to kill again and we end with that unsettling knowledge.

But wait...

Is Miles still in there?

There's a big question here, when did we actually lose Miles? We're teased throughout the movie that Sarah could save Miles, but it seems by the end she never had a chance.

Miles was lost the night he asked Sarah if she'd love him no matter what and forever, which was very early on.

Of course, this could be Scarka winding Sarah up and lying again, meaning we never really get an answer.

The only hope we can cling to is after that point Miles seems to be able to fight back. When he's being hypnotised by Jacobson he scratches out an answer on the sofa. It could have been more manipulation from Scarka but we like to think Miles is somewhere in there.

The Prodigy is in cinemas now.