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Joshua (2007)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Evil has a new name in Joshua, a terrifying suspense-thriller that "keeps us guessing until the stunner finish" (New York Daily News)! The Cairn's (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) have it all: good marriage, nice apartment, a gifted nine-year-old son, Joshua, and a baby on the way. When their second child arrives, the young boy begins to resent his parents constant doting on his new sister. Suddenly, a series of tragic events fill the Cairn household with utter despair and unspeakable horror. The events leave the family questioning if it's all a series of eerie coincidences... or the calculated agenda of a sinister sibling with the perfect plan for revenge?

Director George Ratliff, who also made Hell House, a fascinating documentary about Christian haunted houses constructed to scare kids straight, offers his version of the possessed child horror movie with Joshua. In the establishing scenes, nine year-old piano prodigy, Joshua (Jacob Kogan), is a vision of perfection, even as his new baby sister, Lily, takes up their parents' time a little too often. As time unfolds, indicated cinematically by text describing the baby's days alive on screen, Joshua's jealousy serves as the springboard for his mental and physical manifestations of violence and detached emotion. Somewhere mid-film, parents Brad and Abby Cairn (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) begin to piece together Joshua's disturbing behavior, but as they seek him help Joshua finds ways to sabotage their plans. Like many of the great films about evil-doing children, such as The Omen, The Exorcist, and The Bad Seed, the star's ability to play a maladjusted youth is all, and Jacob Kogan does a wonderful job. Additionally, Rockwell and Farmiga excel at portraying parents fraught with fear and exhaustion. Joshua is not a gory movie as is some of its predecessors, but there is enough psychological tension to make this drama worthy of honor amongst other films in its genre. —Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, Celia Weston, Michael McKean, Dallas Roberts
  • Directors: George Ratliff
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Y7U982
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,547 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

I really wanted to like this movie but it is hard to ignore all the flaws.
Baby Doll
Why reveal some of Joshua's bad nature, but then attempt to make it an ambiguous film where you are supposed to guess?
C Wahlman
His mother is not having a good time with the birth of child number two and seems to be having postpartum depression.
Mitchell Cassman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2008
Format: DVD
"Joshua" is set in New York city and focuses on a young family comprising of Brad and Abby Cairn [Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga], who seem to lead a charmed life. Brad has a well-paying job, they live in a comfortable city apartment, and they have a 9-year-old son, Joshua [Jacob Kogan] who is also a gifted pianist. There is also a new baby, Lily who seems like a perfect child, quiet and lovable, but this seemingly perfect family portrait slowly unravels into a nightmarish horror as the family is plunged into one crisis after another.

It appears that harmless little Joshua, of the quiet and unassuming character, is not so benign after all. In fact, far from it - Lily's birth seems to be the catalyst that brings forth his psychopathic behavior [arguably simmering within him all along]. At first, the problems seem to have ordinary reasons - Abby seems unable to cope with the demands of motherhood [understandable given her history of depression and PPD], dad Brad seems to be the quintessential good guy, a supportive husband and dad trying to balance the demands of work and family, but the audience is never kept in the dark as to the sinister force behind the family's problems.

The acting was surprisingly good given that the main actors are not really well-known. Brad Cairn [as played by Sam Rockwell] makes a convincing husband and father and is the proverbial good guy in a bad situation. Vera Farmiga is also believable as Abby Cairn, whose misery at being unable to cope with a fussy infant and the demands of being a wife and mother added to her battle with depression is very convincing indeed - except that you tend to wonder - why does she refuse to seek help [no nanny, housekeeper, or even family rule?]. This does stretch the credulity level a bit, but still works on-screen.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on March 7, 2008
Format: DVD
This flick has been thoroughly summarized so I will skip that portion. Joshua is an overall good, creepy film. Sam Rockwell gives perhaps one of his best performances as a father who can do nothing but watch his family fall apart while some, slip into insanity. Joshua (the movie) has a very slow and deliberate pacing that constantly builds towards the end of the film. This is a clever and well thought out flick that coasted through theaters and onto DVD but none the less is more then worth the price of a rental to check out. Joshua also features a new, very good, Dave Matthews song during the end credits.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. Schultz VINE VOICE on March 22, 2008
Format: DVD
A lot of talk shows have recently been featuring the plight of parents under siege, afraid of their own children - parents who feel compelled to lock their bedroom doors at night. This movie deals with a more creepily contained version of such a problem. The danger isn't quite as blatant or as aggressively relentless as seen on some of the talk shows. But its subtlety makes it all the more chilling.

There are a few obvious cinematic borrowings from other famous suspense films here. For example, you might, at a few points, be reminded of Damien's targeted, juggernaut cycling scene in "The Omen." Then there is a twist on the famous "Potemkin" stairway/baby carriage scene.

But unlike those films, "Joshua" strives for and achieves the more low-key disquiet of mundane reality. And it is made all the more disturbingly realistic by the fact that not only Joshua, but all the family members are shown with at least thread-line cracks running through their personalities.

"Joshua" is a well-written, well-acted must-see for all suspense movie fans, as well as for all students of family dynamics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anne Carandini on September 8, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There have been a lot of "children of the damned" type films recently, and I watched this on cable. It was disquieting as hell. You never see the kid do anything wrong - you just know there's something wrong with him personally. He asks odd questions and stares blankly at the perfectly awkward times. His mother (Vera Farmiga) was apparently a mess with sever post-partum depression after she had him and clearly never quite recovered since the new baby brings her fears back to surface full storm. The boy is a bit of a prodigy (which is bizzare enough to most of us), but he's not even cheerful or braggadocious about it as most Amadeus types would be. He's just blank. He's a sociopath with a genius I.Q. at the age of 9 or 10.,and you get the feeling that this kid is not acting. Brilliant!!
The father (Sam Rockwell) tries to be good..just to constantly do the right thing for everyone. This is thwarted by the little boy who seems jealous of the baby...or maybe it's that he's just bad. I couldn't tell until the end. I just knew that the boy who played this part (who's surprisingly handsome by now) is the creepiest kid I've ever watched on screen WITHOUT having to make "evil eyes" or "evil little boy faces". Just by way of his gaze, he is an absolute freak, and the most realistically scary kid I've ever seen in a film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. E Jackson on January 22, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Joshua is a fantastic movie... for the final 30 minutes. The first half is total nonstop disappointment involving such a ridiculously slow-moving pace that the film is almost a chore to watch.

However the movie does a fantastic job making viewers wonder who really *is* the bad person- the mother who doesn't care about/flat out ignores her older son Joshua after the birth of her baby daughter, dislikes and disapproves when the grandmother comes over and tries to change the family's religious beliefs therefore making Joshua change his outlook on life, and just doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on that all important thing called motherhood. An unfit/uncaring mother basically.

Or is Joshua (the son) the bad person? He's the one who seems really cold-hearted and unaware of his actions. He seems willing to learn just as frequently as he does disagreeing and going against his parents wishes whenever he can despite how much the mother and father try to stop it from happening.

The movie does a pretty good job during the second half making us wonder if Joshua really is responsible for the horrible things that seem to happen whenever he's around therefore leading us to conclude that the boy has mental issues, however the first hour and 10 minutes is so flat out *boring* with hardly any suspense or excitement whatsoever that the movie honestly can't be saved. What happens during the first half you're probably wondering? The boy learns piano, tries to adapt to a world with a new sibling, and goes out to museums with his grandmother learning about religion (actually, more like teaching his grandmother about religion). Nothing really enticing occurs during this lengthy period of time so it feels like useless storytelling.
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