What Josiah Saw 2021 movie

What Josiah Saw – A family haunted by past ghosts

Not every story has a happy start or end because, in some cases, darkness reigns supreme, as with the strange family in this 2021 movie, What Josiah Saw.

Josiah is the father of three twin sons, two of whom, Eli and Mary, left the nest long ago, fleeing as far as they could from his overbearing ignorance and continuous physical and psychological violence.

Only the weak Thomas remained with him, continuing to suffer all kinds of mistreatment and humiliation from Josiah, who lives attached to a whiskey bottle and constantly insults his son no matter what he does.

However, running away was not enough for Eli and Mary, who still carry the marks of a difficult youth and the terrible suicide of their mother, found hanging from a tree in front of their house when they were still teenagers.

Indeed, Eli is a registered sex offender and lives on the fringes of society, doing all kinds of illegal work and even occasionally prostituting to pay for drugs.

With a high debt to repay to a local boss, Eli then agrees to rob, along with two henchmen, a wandering caravan of gypsies hiding a valuable chest of gold.

Meanwhile, Mary wakes each night from frightening nightmares and memories of her father’s sexual abuse, while during the day, she carries on an unhappy marriage with her husband Ross.

To give the woman a purpose, Ross would like to adopt a child, although the committee wants to subject her to a psychiatric evaluation before even starting the process.

These children of a father/master so far apart, yet with ominously similar fates, will once again have to meet at the door of their old home when they receive a lifetime offer to sell it at a high price to an oil company.

Monsters and ghosts from reality

For anyone who has seen this 2021 movie, okay, actually, the plot is not exactly as I told it; I just wanted to avoid spoiling some of the excellent plot twists to enjoy What Josiah Saw as it deserves.

At first, you might immediately think, “Okay, here’s yet another horror flick with the family trapped in a ghost-haunted house,” but it only takes a few minutes to realize that it is anything but.

Indeed, the ghosts are from past events, while the trap is actually the family itself, embodied in three persons who never knew what it was to live peacefully and happily.

Director Vincent Grashaw picks up on some themes already touched on in the previously dark and intriguing Coldwater and Savanna, repurposing in an even sicker and incurable way a family living almost in a dimension of the worst shadows of the human soul.

It is no coincidence that dividing the plot into three chapters is like an escalation toward the condemnation of these characters, a condemnation largely anticipated through surreal visions and clairvoyant predictions, reaching the end as the grim confirmation of something we already know.

However, even though the path is inevitable, Grashaw still inserts a couple of terrifying and exciting twists, shaking our awareness of what we took for granted up to that point.

Equally evocative is Robert Pycior’s somber music, shrouded in dead-end despair, which never opens to any melody, accompanying the Graham family’s descent into hell and forcefully opening their eyes to a past they would all like to forget.

What I most appreciate about this movie is how it succeeds in keeping the tension so high without almost resorting to explicit violence, but mainly through the solid direction and an outstanding choral performance by the entire cast.

A terrific cast for a terrifying plot

Proceeding with the order they appear, I would start by praising the excellent Scott Haze as Thomas, definitely the unluckiest of the family since he has never been able to get rid of his father.

It was an intense performance between pain and humiliation, which made me appreciate this actor even more after I had already admired him in the still ambiguous role he played in the fantastic and recent western Old Henry.

With his terrifying introduction, this character lays the groundwork for everything that will happen next, especially when we switch genres with the character of Nick Stahl, where the actor ends up in a criminal plot worthy of Pulp Fiction but without the irony that diluted Quentin Tarantino‘s masterpiece.

It’s a tough life for this guy who is oppressed by everyone, especially the ruthless boss, played by an evil and convincing Jake Weber, who will land him in a mad commune of gypsies and sorcerers.

Equally problematic is going on for the fragile character of Kelli Garner and her husband Tony Hale, where we still move from crime to a family drama as intense and dark as the horror part, where no solution seems possible for these husband and wife to get out of the shadow of darkness where they live perpetually.

The character of this girl will also give us some tremendous surprises, without much explanation, but clearly hinting that she is not as innocent and helpless as she seems.

Finally, I purposely left for last the one and only Robert Patrick, the unforgettable T-1000 from Terminator 2 who is even scarier here as a human being, so uncontrollable and insane as well as purely evil and devoted with all his efforts to make his family suffer in every way and for as long as possible.

Josiah quickly becomes a terrifying figure who looms like a curse over this 2021 movie, which, not surprisingly, is named after him and leaves us wondering not only what he saw but what we are actually looking at as we consume this story suspended between psychological thriller and family drama with sinister horror overtones.

What Josiah Saw 2021 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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