She's not in Litchfield anymore. Orange Is the New Black actor Taylor Schilling is trading the horrors of prison for a truly terrifying psychological scarefest, as seen in the new The Prodigy official trailer. The mother to Miles, a highly intelligent young boy (hence the title), Schilling's character, Sarah, isn't exactly experiencing the joys of motherhood, as her mini genius seems to turn downright demonic. Moviegoers will have to wait until Feb. 8 to learn "#WhatsWrongWithMiles" — the film's official tagline-turned-hashtag — but, based, on the preview, it seems that the answer may be lengthy and, well, complicated.
First, here's a synopsis of The Prodigy, courtesy of Deadline:
"Schilling stars as Sarah, whose young son Miles' (Jackson Robert Scott from It) disturbing behavior signals that an evil, possibly supernatural force has overtaken him. Fearing for her family’s safety, Sarah must grapple with her maternal instinct to love and protect Miles in favor of investigating what — or who — is causing his dark turn. She is forced to look for answers in the past, taking the audience on a wild ride, one where the line between perception and reality remains blurry."
Indeed, the trailer begins as Sarah and her partner first welcome their baby, who they quickly decide is their "little prodigy." As it turns out, that wasn't their biased parental opinion, but actually a fact, as confirmed at some type of testing center.
"His intelligence is off the charts," a woman tells Sarah in one scene. "I don't have an exact score, but it'll be very high."
As Schilling's character brags that her son is "special," viewers get an idea of just exactly what kind of special Miles is when an evil look comes over his face, and he crushes a bug in the palm of his hand.
"Mommy, what's wrong with me?" the innocent-sounding kid — sitting in a bathtub — asks Sarah. There's that question again.
In a subsequent scene, Sarah is telling a teacher that "Miles is having a very difficult time making friends." And it seems pretty apparent why that might be the case when the trailer cuts to images of the boy carrying a large pipe wrench through his classroom, as ominous music plays in the background.
Whereas Miles' prodigy status seemed to be a bragging point at the beginning of the trailer, it seems to take on a new meaning as the same woman mentioned earlier tells Sarah that Miles' brain is "extremely well developed" and that he "may need a specialist."
Enter a therapist of sorts who seems to be attempting to hypnotize the young boy with a ticking metronome. His professional assessment? "Miles is dangerous." (Well, duh.) Even Miles' father tells his wife, "I don't feel safe with him in the house."
What follows is several instances of Schilling's Sarah looking distraught, pained, forlorn (take your pick). Viewers also see quick flashes of scenes that include a car accident, Miles with half of his face pained as a skeleton (symbolism?), Miles holding a hammer, a tactical team shooting automatic weapons in the dark, and an unseen character (though likely Miles) sharpening yet another tool.
"He's so different now," Sarah says in the trailer. "I feel like I don't know him."
That, of course, explains the trailer's final scene where she's lying on her side in bed, and the seemingly possessed boy creepily places his hand on her shoulder from behind. "Mommy, will you always love me?" he asks her. "...no matter what I do?" Her face says it all.
The Prodigy's director Nicholas McCarthy recently explained that horror fans should expect the unexpected, however.
“When I sat down and read that script, for the first half, I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is [a] really interesting, and creepy, and twisted variation on the evil kid subgenre,'” he said, per Entertainment Weekly. “But then the script just went to this place that I couldn’t believe and that’s what made me go from, ‘Here’s a movie I think might be cool’ to saying, ‘Here’s a movie that’s gotta be made,’ because where [writer Jeff Buhler] takes the story is truly unexpected.”
While moviegoers will have to wait until February to find out what's wrong with Miles, the trailer gives plenty to theorize in the meantime.