Critics Consensus

Though Joshua is ultimately too formulaic, its intelligence and suspenseful buildup heighten the overall creep factor.



Reviews Counted: 98

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,465


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 2.9/5

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Movie Info

Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga star in director George Ratliff's uncomfortable psychological thriller Joshua, as Brad and Abby Cairn, an affluent young stockbroker and his wife, raising children in New York City. Their firstborn, the nine-year-old Joshua (Jacob Kogan), is a frighteningly intelligent child -- to such a degree that he thinks and acts decades ahead of his age. Nearly always clad in formal wear and demonstrating limitless brilliance as a pianist -- with a marked predilection for "dissonant" classical pieces -- Joshua gravitates toward his gay aesthete uncle (Dallas Roberts) as a close friend, but distances himself from his immediate kin -- particularly when Abby brings a newborn baby sister home from the hospital and unwisely alienates the young tyke. As the days pass, one at a time, the mood at the house regresses from healthy and happy to strange, unsettled, and disorienting; meanwhile, bizarre events transpire. As the baby's whines drive an already strained Abby to the point of a nervous breakdown, Joshua devolves from eccentric to downright sociopathic behavior, discarding all of his toys, disemboweling a stuffed animal, and killing off pets. One at a time, family members also begin to suffer tragic fates -- but are they Joshua's fevered and psychotic doings or merely the result of happenstance? ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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Sam Rockwell
as Brad Cairn
Vera Farmiga
as Abby Cairn
Celia Weston
as Hazel Cairn
Dallas Roberts
as Ned Davidoff
Jacob Kogan
as Joshua Cairn
Michael McKean
as Chester Jenkins
Nancy Giles
as Betsy Polsheck
Linda Larkin
as Ms. Danforth
Alex Draper
as Stewart Slocom
Ezra Barnes
as Fred Solomon
Jodie Markell
as Ruth Solomon
Rufus Collins
as Henry Abernathy
Haviland Morris
as Monique Abernathy
Tom Bloom
as Joe Cairn
Antonia Stout
as Museum Staffer
Randy Ryan
as Soccer Dad
Evan Seligman
as Soccer Teammate
Patrick Henney
as Singing Boy
Nicholas Guidry
as Bike Messenger
Darrill Rosen
as Homeless Man
Erik M. Solky
as Park Patron
Shianne Kolb
as Cairn, Lily
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News & Interviews for Joshua

Critic Reviews for Joshua

All Critics (98) | Top Critics (34)

  • ...a bewildering extension rather than a retread of this played-out subgenre.

    Jan 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Mark Bourne
    Top Critic
  • As horror flicks go this is both smart and suspenseful.

    Jan 3, 2008 | Full Review…
  • The nerve-shattering ending will have you hugging your children when you get home - but only if there are witnesses present.

    Aug 3, 2007 | Rating: 3/4

    Sean P. Means
    Top Critic
  • Ratliff's movie almost succeeds in hurtling over the trenches it digs for itself in an increasingly ludicrous third act. But not quite.

    Jul 13, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Fairly absorbing film.

    Jul 13, 2007 | Full Review…

    Shauna Lyon

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • Spooky, relatively realistic, grounded in psychology rather than displays of gore, it could be just the thing to rejuvenate the fading horror genre.

    Jul 13, 2007 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Joshua

I am deep thinker but sometimes I just want to enjoy a Movie and this is not one of those that I would recommend for those who want to lean back and enjoy the "Creep" About a deranged Kid with depressed Mother? I think I saw a similar Movie, lot far too better than this one.

Wahida K
Wahida K

Super Reviewer


Rather strange movie. Really strange kid. This movie never really comes to a climax the way one might hope, and there are a some unanswered questions. It is pretty clear, however, that the child had a weird agenda all along. A really strange agenda to say the least...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


What a strangle little film. I think this is one of those films that needs to be watched a second time before you can fully appreciate it. Maybe. I've yet to find out.

vieras esine
vieras esine

Super Reviewer

This movie moved WAAAY too slow for its own good. I know the director was going for that show-burn dread that I like so much in artful contemporary horror, but they payoff in this film was infinitsimal. There are so many interesting avenues this film could have explored, but it introduced then abandoned every one of them. Joshua and his grandmother's rabid religiosity, Abby's sever recurrent post-partum depression, the inherent tensions between Brad's homelife and career and Joshua's own emotional turmoil are all completely wasted here. I think that the shifting focus between the characters in this film was a mistake. First it's Abby, and she's quickly disposed of, then it would appear to be Joshua for a little while, and the plot finally settles on the unravelling Brad. Just when it looks like they're going to grant Joshua some depth, they flatten him out again. Which is the biggest shame in the film, because he could have proven to be a new breed of Bad Seed. Oh well.

Emily Armstrong
Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

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