The Prodigy

Hammer time.

You know how sometimes your intellectually gifted 8-year-old son starts lashing out in violence? And how he also has a sudden liking for paprika and has been muttering in a foreign language in his sleep? And so you take him to the psychologist, and she’s like, “Oh, he’s probably a reincarnated Hungarian serial killer”? Friend, “The Prodigy” has been in your shoes. Directed by Nicholas McCarthy (whose “The Pact” and “At the Devil’s Door” played festivals earlier this decade), this dark, modestly thrilling, not too gory horror entry stars Taylor Schilling (“Orange Is the New Black”) as the mother and Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie in “IT”) as young Miles, an extremely bright lad who booby-trapped a babysitter and hit a classmate with a wrench. Dad’s in the picture too, but the movie has no use for him — which is unfortunate, because Jeff Buhler’s screenplay could have used some red herrings, some alternate possible explanations for Miles’ behavior. Instead, it tells us at the end of the first act what’s going on, then follows that through to one of a small handful of possible endings, with no diversions in between: straightforward to a fault. But Schilling’s alert, protective mom is strong, and 10-year-old Scott’s ability to switch casually from innocent lamb to creepy kid is effectively eerie.

B- (1 hr., 31 min.; R, a little profanity, one F-word, some violence and gore.)