On the skids psychologist James Fonda (Richard Neil…who we recently interviewed right here) is called in to one of your garden variety top secret government facilities by an old classmate named Olivia (Jolene Andersen) to assist in examining Ellie (Savannah Liles) a whip smart telekinetic girl. Of course those that run the facility want to carve Ellie up like a Christmas goose to see what makes her so damn special.
Making excellent use of a small cast and only a handful of locations (4 by my count, with interiors used to clinical and claustrophobic perfection), Prodigy is an impressive low budget sci-fi thriller. Neil and Liles deliver strong performances, their relationship grows believably, and the plight of young Ellie is an engaging one (if a bit derivative of King’s Firestarter here and there…minus the fire of course), and contains both strong emotional content, well-done visual effects to illustrate our young protagonists psychic powers,and a mounting tension as her fate looks ever more grim.
As for the opposite end of the spectrum; as I stated before, this film does have a bit of the “heard that one before” going on as it echoes the aforementioned Firestarter, which in turn has recently been referenced by Stranger Things to great success (hell even Bon Jovi got in on the act back in the day with that damn Runaway video), but I think it has enough unique ideas to keep it entertaining. A few other elements that may turn some viewers off is the film’s slow burn pace, and the demeanor of the Ellie character; she’s cold and precise, and even though Liles plays her amazingly well, some viewers may have a hard time warming up to her.
If you are looking for a solid sci-fi thriller with a strong cast, good production value, and effective representation of psychic abilities, Prodigy is an entertaining watch and worth your time!