Length: 106 minutes
Director: George Ratliff (Hell House; Purgatory County)
Writers: George Ratliff (End Zone) and David Gilbert (End Zone)
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, Jacob Kogan, Dallas Roberts, Michael McKean, Celia Weston, Nancy Giles, Linda Larkin, Alex Draper, Jodie Markell
You’ve seen one “Evil Child” movie, you’ve seen them all. “Joshua” is no different. Bound to draw comparisons to “The Omen”, “The Bad Seed”, and even the Macaulay Culkin disaster “The Good Son”, “Joshua” asserts itself into the unmemorable section of it’s genre. A shame really, because it has a lot of potential. The cast is dynamite. The always reliable Sam Rockwell is excellent, as if Vera Farmiga, whom I loathed in “The Departed”. Jacob Kogan as the title character/boy from hell is also creepy and effective. The problem is we’ve just seen the story one too many times and there’s nothing really new or different about “Joshua” for it to stand out. Rockwell and Farmiga are an upper class Manhattan family who welcome a newborn baby girl into their family. Their nine year old son, Joshua (Kogan), is instantly jealous. He all ready feels like an outsider and one day stumbles across a video cassette that reveals the horrific post mortem depression his mother went through after his birth. Joshua also senses that his Dad might not really love him. Accidents start to happen, pets start to die, strange events take place without explanations and the finger points to the kid, but he’s too smart to let anyone but dear old dad catch on. The movie isn’t as bloody or terrifying as “The Omen”, which I believe it will get the most comparisons to. It has moments of tension and suspense (the cinematography is very well done), but it just doesn’t add up to anything special. If you’re going to tread familiar waters, it helps to have a dynamite cast, but you have to help them out a little. You have to give them something new to do.