At first glance, there’s enough interest gathered from the cast of What Josiah Saw alone, with two of the top-billed actors Robert Patrick and Nick Stahl, and even Jake Weber in a supporting role. Each of them do a fair amount of heavy lifting on screen, pulling out all the stops to generate interest out of their characters and not isolate them to two-dimensional representations. The premise is also one that further builds intrigue, placing a family reuniting at their farmhouse, after a lucrative offer is placed on it, but why have they become so estranged from one another? And what secrets do they hope to remain buried?
Each member of the family is awarded their own chapter of the storyline before the afore-mentione coming together at the farmhouse. It starts with the father, Josiah (Patrick) and his son Thomas (Scott Haze), the latter appears to be trying to look after the upkeep of the abode, but there is something aloof about the way the two engage with one another that doesn’t quite fit, which becomes all too apparent by the films’ conclusion.
The middle chapter and possibly the most intriguing has another son, Eli (Stahl) who is caught up with questionable characters and is charged with two other guys to visit some gypsy folk; a moment that comes to a whole heap of trouble for Eli.
Lastly, we’re introduced to the daughter, Mary (Kelli Garner) and her partner, Ross (Tony Hale), who have been struggling to have children of their own and are in the throes of finalising an adoption process.
As each chapter unfolds, serving as a means to build up and embellish each character, but these windows into their lives so far trudge along at a snail’s pace without any clear direction or purpose. Other than to allow the final moment to unfold. For what it’s worth this final moment when it arrives is well placed and with a powerful punchline, but it’s a damn painful ride to get there. For some, they would have tuned out long before this takes place.
There is plenty of promise set up in What Josiah Saw, with a solid cast and a definitive approach to the storytelling.
The problem arises through its slow interplay as it tries to develop the characters, ordinarily a good thing, but this is painfully slow and interest wanes quite quickly.
A shame, as the last scene is a decent and dramatic conclusion.
- Saul Muerte
What Josiah Saw is streaming on Shudder ANZ from Thu Aug 4th.