The theatrical release of the indie Joshua was marketed as a horror movie something along the lines of The Bad Seed or The Omen. It does share some similarities to those films, but in actuality it has a lot more in common with the oeuvres of Roman Polanski, Luis Brunel, and Stanley Kubrick. It's seriously channels the starkness of 70s cinema, and it truly coaxes the chills as the "story of the perfect boy with the perfect plan" unfurls and then climaxes gently into a moment that will make your blood run cold.
The tale of a young boy ruining his family due to jealousy when his little sister is born is a simple one, but it's masterfully complex in its execution. Director George Ratliff conducts a symphony of eerily effective sound design; leads us through a labyrinth of wide open spaces, blind corners, and claustrophobic crawlspaces; and he shepherds chilling and disturbing, yet completely natural, acting performances from Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, and Jacob Kogan. (The rest of the main cast is rounded out by Michael McKean, Dallas Roberts, and Celia Weston — and they're all dead-on.)
Read Horror.com's original review of Joshua here. View our interviews with the cast here. Note: I chose Joshua as the #1 scary movie of 2007.
The DVD of Joshua is definitely one for the library. There are a couple of deleted scenes that are not only worthwhile, but they truly add dimension to the story and should definitely have been restored or incorporated back into the film.
DVD Special Features
Joshua is presented in widescreen format in English 5.1 DTS, English 5.1 Dolby Surround and Spanish Dolby Surround with English and Spanish subtitles.
• Audio Commentary by writer/director George Ratliff and writer David Gilbert
• Six deleted scenes
• Never-before-seen, DVD exclusive of Dave Matthews music video, Fly
• Cast and crew interviews including:
o Actor Sam Rockwell
o Actress Vera Farmiga
o Actor Jacob Kogan
o Director George Ratliff
o Producer Johnathan Dorfman
o Co-Producer George Paaswell
o Production Designer Roshelle Berliner
• Jacob Kogan’s audition tapes
• Theatrical internet advertising campaign
• Theatrical Trailer
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson