Thomas Graham (Scott Haze) lives with his father, Josiah (Robert Patrick) who still has a very stern hold over him. Feeling oppressed by his father, Thomas doesn’t see a way out and the local police still talk about his mother killing herself as if it’s some kind of urban legend. However, there is a family reunion on the horizon so perhaps Thomas has some hope.
Thomas’s brother Eli (Nick Stahl) is heading home, but he’s fallen on the wrong side of the tracks and has found himself in a life of crime. He tries to get out of the situations that he finds himself in, but it always seems to be the easy way out. Mary, (Kelli Garner) the only girl in the family has seemingly led an ordinary life despite her troubled upbringing. Now happily married to Ross (Tony Hale), Mary has got everything she ever wanted, but the past still haunts her in disturbing ways.
Once home though, the Grahams find that there is more to be unearthed in their mysterious past.
What Josiah Saw is a slow burn horror movie which found its way onto Shudder. However, like some of Shudder’s catalogue, What Josiah Saw barely passes as horror as it’s more focussed on family trauma and the effects of abuse.
Setting up the scene, the audience is introduced to Thomas and his imposing father and soon after the rest of the family are introduced. The disjointed way in which each family member is introduced may put some audiences off though as although it shows their lives now and where they are, it’s not exactly a character study which may keep their interest.
It’s only really at the end and at a few fleeting moments which may lead the audience to believe that What Josiah Saw really is a horror movie. However, this does end up feeling like misdirection and manipulation to hide the real themes of the movie.
The premise and framing of What Josiah Saw is clever and may offer something different for Shudder viewers as it’s beautifully shot with great performances all round. Unfortunately its inflections of horror somewhat undermine what could have been a more thoughtful story.
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