Film Review – What Josiah Saw (2021)

Title – What Josiah Saw (2021)

Director – Vincent Grashaw (Coldwater) 

Cast – Scott Haze, Nick Stahl, Kelli Garner, Robert Patrick, Tony Hale 

Plot – With the long standing family farmhouse facing the prospect of being fold off, the Graham family are bought together for the first time in decades unearthing long buried secrets and trauma that followed in the wake of their mothers suicide. 

“We can save your mother boy” 

Review by Eddie on 09/11/2022

Since launching in 2015, horror streaming service Shudder has struggled to deliver big money drawcards to really break free of its cult fandom, with one of its latest acquisitions What Josiah Saw a genre piece that on paper seems set too be a breakout hit but upon witnessing it, many will agree that Shudder is still failing too bank on the right products should it look to gain the attention it craves. 

Based off screenwriter Robert Alan Dilts script, director Vincent Grashaw here explores the messed up lives of the Graham family with Scott Haze’s Thomas, Nick Stahl’s Eli, Kelli Garner’s Mary and Robert Patrick’s family matriarch Josiah taking centre stage as they look set to reunite after years apart following the suicide of their mother. 

Broken up into distinct chapters that explores firstly Thomas’s extremely odd life living with Josiah, Eli’s gypsy encountering troubles and Kelli’s haunted life that is impacting her relationship with partner Ross (played by Tony Hale), What Josiah Saw is likely to be a film many willing viewers didn’t expect it to be when they encountered its trailers and marketing materials with Grashaw and Dilts feature far more unnerving drama than straight up horror. 

Saved in a major way by a last act that takes some intriguing and unexpected turns and feels like it belongs to a far more engaging film overall, the problem that is hard for What Josiah Saw to overcome is that for a large portion of its close to two hour running time, viewers will be wondering what the whole point of this exercise is with the segmented stories of the Graham family feeling disconnected and also pointless before the too late to save the day finale comes rolling around late in the piece. 

Touching on trauma, broken hearts, the supernatural, missing person cases and even cursed gold, there’s a lot happening in Grashaw’s film but despite feeling like it’s at home exploring the grimy and dirty underbelly of the human condition, you do wish there was more focus on What Josiah Saw becoming either a spine-tingling horror that it was purported to be or a more connected exploration of a broken family that manages to grip you with its dirty fingers, with the end product here being a more boorish exercise that only shows itself to be more worthy until it no longer matters in a meaningful way. 

Final Say – 

Far from a typical horror exercise that takes its sweet time delving into the not entirely engaging lives of the messed up Graham family, What Josiah Saw is not the film advertised and one that is only saved from the dire recesses of direct too streaming rubbish heap by a surprising last act that feels as though it’s from a whole different film.

2 1/2 tractors out of 5 

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