It’s sad when a films only major flaw is it’s budget. With a higher budget Joshua would be a filmed talked more often, but because of the low budget, and terrible opening, I doubt many people will keep the film on long enough to truly enjoy it’s dark charms.
Joshua is a very heavily story based film, so I’m going to try my best not to spoil too much of it, for it’s much more enjoyable to find out with a viewing. The film starts, and we get treated to one of our characters, James, poorly killing an overly drunk woman. We cut from this to Kelby, our main character, proposing to his girlfriend, and immediately getting a call from the warden of the prison his dad is serving in for killing his baby sister. It seems Kelby’s father has had a heart attack, so Kelby and his fiance, Amelia, decided to head back to his hometown for the funeral.
Upon arriving to the town, we get introduced to the wacky characters that make up the town, and Kelbys family. His slut sister, Lily, who really feels unnecessary, his uncle who hated his father, Tom, who is another unnecessary character, and his old friends, James, the killer from the start of the film, and Wally, a policeman who’s slowly losing it, who both seem to share an old secret with Kelby. From here, it’s really a journey of discovery, and some times it turns out the past isn’t as dead as one might hope.
Joshua is a dark film, to say the least, with themes ranging from infanticide, child abuse, murder, cannibalism, rape, needless to say, it’s not for the faint of heart. The story plays out rather well, though the pacing of the first half feels slow, a lot of what’s mentioned, and seen comes back to play into the latter half, and I’m a sucker for foreshadowing. The film isn’t played out for gore, but there is quite a bit in the film, ranging from fantastic, to really crappy. It seems like the big effects, and the ones that work best, are all saved for the last half, making the trip there seem a bit tiresome at first.
The acting is a bit of an issue at times, with Kelby coming off as wooden in more than a few scenes. The performance of Aaron Gaffey as James is one of the few highlights of the film, with the rest of the actors coming across alright. The role of Wally is fun to watch as he loses his mind, but I found him to get on my nerves most of the time, even during some of the more disturbing scenes he’s in.
The film also uses a lot of unique camera tricks, and some times it doesn’t come out looking too well, but thankfully more often than not, the camera really adds to the scene, and the disturbing nature of the movie. There is also a lot of tribute to classic horror films, such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Evil Dead, which as a fan, I was all over.
Is the film perfect? No, the lack of budget leaves a lot of the first half looking rather bland, and the actors could of been much better, but does that ruin the film? No, it has one of the most unique stories I’ve seen in years, and some great ideas at work, it would of been nice to seen them delivered better, but I’m glad to see them at all.
Score – B
Gore – 7/10