WHAT JOSIAH SAW (2021) Reviews of horror drama – with new Shudder trailer

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‘You do what need be done then’
What Josiah Saw is a 2021 American horror drama about a family with buried secrets that reunites to pay for their past sins.

Directed by Vincent Grashaw from a screenplay written by Robert Alan Dilts. The movie stars Robert Patrick, Nick Stahl, Scott Haze, Kelli Garner, Tony Hale, Jake Weber and Ronnie Gene Blevins.

What Josiah Saw will be available for streaming via Shudder on August 4, 2022, in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

“When judgment finally lands on the Grahams – in an ending that will spark as many questions as it answers, all cosmological in nature – it’s a full bore inevitable tragedy. By showing us What Josiah Saw, director Vincent Grashaw has carved a jagged treasure from this bloody soil.” The Austin Chronicle

“The heavy strings of the film’s first-half return as dark secrets and lies are dug up. The suspense and tension as you wait for everything to be laid out on the table is like a fuse reaching its explosive point. And when confrontations reach their limit, oh boy, is there a twist. Grashaw and Dilts deliver a violent and shocking finale…” Daily Dead


“Superbly directed, What Josiah Saw is exquisite psychological horror, and every member of the cast is in top form as the gruesome story unfolds. The sound design, terrifying score, and overwhelmingly grim cinematography all make this film an experience that will relentlessly gnaw at the viewer for a long time after watching.” Dread Central

” …succeeds very well in creating an atmosphere from which there seems to be no hope of escape. What Josiah Saw simmers throughout, always potent, always dangerous. The final chapter brings one devastating (if not always surprising) revelation after another, en route to an ending in which long-awaited violence still leaves room for a hint of ambiguity.” Eye for Film

“Assumptions are confirmed, subverted, and confused for the truth to land with impact, regardless of what you figured out and when. It helps that Haze, Stahl, and especially Garner have bought into their roles, the backstories putting them in their current, tortured headspace. Patrick is their menacing puppetmaster, either through divine intervention or malicious cruelty…” The Film Stage

“Grashaw’s What Josiah Saw is a heavy and sordid analysis of the power of trauma and inevitability that skeletons always escape from the closet. Superbly scripted, purposefully directed, and conscientiously acted, What Josiah Saw is an immersive film whose darkness stains the skin and will leave you aching for a shower.” The Hollywood News

“As a whole, What Josiah Saw is an incredibly well-made film. Carlos Ritter’s cinematography is beautiful, while remaining appropriately dreary. The score — by Robert Pycior — is so atmospherically perfect, it’s immediately noticeable as a strong element that supports the whole picture. It’s so well put together, perfectly cast, well written, brilliantly acted, and with a pacing that feels like reading a compelling novella.” iHorror 

” …there’s an inherent silliness at the heart of What Josiah Saw, one that Grashaw desperately tries to paper over with an impressive combination of artistry and force of will. That he succeeds to the degree that he does is a testament to his raw talent, even as he goes to the “camera slowly pushes in on actor/object/location” well a few too many times in generating scares. But there’s still a palpable sense of tension that Grashaw creates and sustains throughout…” In Review Online

” …What Josiah Saw masterfully unfolds as a searing familial drama. The horror is in the traumas of the past, and their ripple effects into three dark, distinct futures. Split into three separate parts, the three Graham children have some seriously messed up lives. Slow-burn horror has reached its pinnacle with this twisty and haunting tale.” Josh at the Movies

” …What Josiah Saw comes from how the filmmaker leans on atmosphere and strong performances, with truly inspired bits of casting filling the juiciest parts that many in the ensemble have had for some time, but in embracing certain genre elements, the director subversively uses the context to bring to light to the banality of evil…” The Moveable Feast


What Josiah Saw is a hard movie to classify. At times it is a dark family drama about the lingering nature of abuse. At other times, it’s a straight-up farmhouse ghost story. It has the adventurous wander of a Quentin Tarantino beat sheet but when What Josiah Saw decides that it wants to scare the pants off of you, it’s doesn’t hold back.” Nightmare on Film Street

“Patrick, Haze, Stahl, and Garner all did excellent jobs playing the various members of the Graham family and portraying complex characters. Their interactions with each other add such a high level of intensity and uncertainty to the film, the four definitely do well playing a highly dysfunctional family. The use of an unreliable narrator makes the ending tense and definitely a bold step in storytelling.” Nightmarish Conjurings

What Josiah Saw is an odd duck, a movie that jumps genres but maintains a throughline of unsettling intensity before tying them all back together. I’m not sure about the final few revelations and what they all add up to, but I am sure I will immediately watch whatever Grashaw makes next.” RogerEbert.com

” …this slow-burning and diffuse Southern Gothic drama follows each of the damaged siblings in turn as they weigh up the prospect of returning to the farm once more to sign off on its sale to an oil company. Sluggish pacing slightly undermines the film’s main assets — the strong performances from Kelli Garner as Mary and a suitably ravaged-looking Nick Stahl as Eli.” Screen Daily

“A great script is nothing without great performances and What Josiah Saw has them in abundance […] A relentlessly dark and anguished film that never drags despite a two-hour running time, What Josiah Saw takes you through a nightmarish world. And then unleashes even darker secrets in the final act.” Voices from the Balcony

Critics’ aggregated rating:

MOVIES and MANIA rating:


Original trailer:

Shudder trailer:


Cast and characters:
Robert Patrick … Josiah Graham
Nick Stahl … Eli Graham
Scott Haze … Thomas Graham
Kelli Garner … Mary Milner
Tony Hale … Ross Milner
Jake Weber … Boone
Ronnie Gene Blevins … Billy
Troy Powell … Logan
Louanne Stephens … Mama Luna
Winston James Francis … Mr Miggs
Billy Blair … Marco
Anthony Gaudioso … Roy Roy
Dana Namerode … Gypsy Gina
Ben Hall … Mr Gentry
Darryl Cox … Lou Shinberg
Chris Freihofer … Bill Mullins
Riley Kahn … Little Girl
Richard L. Olsen … Sheriff Dowd
Michaela Bishop … Myrtle
Morgana Shaw … Psychiatrist
Josh Kelling … Parole Officer
Shannon Moree Smith … Not Jenny
Aaron Henningsen … Young Eli
Jo Ashley Moore … Young Mary
Carson Cooper … Young Thomas
Karen Magirowsky … Harley
Tommy Nash … Kirk
Farah White … Effie
Bruce Davis … Damon
Graham Thomas … Tanner
Heather Siess … Mrs Tate
Matthew Oakley … Mr Tate
Laurie Cummings … Social Worker
Clayton LaDue … Towne
Pamela Bell … Miriam Graham

Technical details:
120 minutes

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