Quick Takes: The Prodigy, The Golem, Velvet Buzzsaw, Tumbbad

The Prodigy has some clever ideas and soot-dark moments but the mounting dread is muted by a lethargic pace, repetitive narrative & bland characters. Jackson Robert Scott as the evil kid is chilling and anchors the movie but it's not scary or radical enough to stand apart. (In theaters on Feb. 8)

I'm a sucker for period pieces and The Golem smartly updates the figure of Jewish folklore with a well-crafted, sincere & culturally relevant film. There’s surprising emotional resonance even while bodies are being torn apart. That's quite a feat Dread Presents! (Available on VOD)

You may hate art after Velvet Buzzsaw. Jake is hilarious in this odd Final Destination meets Absolutely Fabulous-ish queer horror satire comedy that never tips too pointedly in any one direction. Check your expectations and it'll be a merry momentary diversion. (Stream from Netflix)

Folklore, fantasy and horror collide into a feast for the eyes in the creepy and atmospheric Tumbbad. It's thin on characters and bows a bit in the middle but the epic scale and wildly effective visual effects tell the story without the need for words. This is a very good film. (Stream from Amazon Prime Video)