What Josiah Saw Review Shudder Film

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What Josiah Saw

Release: 2021-08-13Genre: HorrorDuration: 120 minsBudget: $ 0

A family with buried secrets reunite at a farmhouse after two decades to pay for their past sins.

What Josiah Saw

Release: 2021-08-13Genre: HorrorDuration: 120 minsBudget: $ 0

A family with buried secrets reunite at a farmhouse after two decades to pay for their past sins.

What Josiah Saw: A Haunting Tale of Generational Trauma

In Vincent Grashaw’s film, What Josiah Saw, we are thrust into a deeply disturbing and novelistic narrative that explores the sinister effects of generational trauma. Contrary to popular belief, trauma does not always manifest immediately; sometimes, its scars emerge weeks or even years later, seeping into the lives of individuals and generations. In this eerie portrayal, trauma takes on a grotesque and human form, haunting a fragmented family and leading them down a path of horrifying consequences.

A Broken Family, United by Horror

The Graham family, once tightly knit, has splintered into separate paths. Eli, portrayed by Nick Stahl, constantly finds himself in trouble with the law, grappling with internalized trauma. Mary, portrayed by Kelli Garner, experiences intense nightmares and psychosis, straining her marriage to Ross (Tony Hale) as they navigate the adoption process. Meanwhile, Thomas Graham (Scott Haze) remains trapped at home with his abusive father, Josiah (Robert Patrick), whose self-destructive tendencies lead to a life-altering experience. This event sets Josiah and Thomas on a dark path, guided by their twisted interpretation of faith.

An Atmosphere of Oppression and Unsettling Realism

From its very beginning, What Josiah Saw immerses viewers in a deeply oppressive atmosphere. The haunting and evocative score composed by Robert Pycior uses strings like a whip, lashing across one’s senses and intensifying the film’s evil presence. While it may not fit neatly into the traditional horror genre with jump scares akin to Insidious, What Josiah Saw delivers a different kind of terror—one grounded in reality, making it all the more devastating as the story unfolds.

Director Vincent Grashaw and writer Robert Alan Dilts craft the film with a shared vision of keeping audiences in a state of profound mystery throughout. Like a scattered jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of the narrative gradually come together, occasionally meandering but ultimately culminating in a brutal and impactful climax.

An Antithesis to Haunting Tales of Trauma

In many ways, What Josiah Saw stands as the antithesis to director Mike Flanagan’s exploration of trauma in series like The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass. While both explore the generation-spanning aftermath of trauma, What Josiah Saw takes a nihilistic and disconcerting approach, immersing itself in ghostly environments where life feels inauthentic and unsettling. Through the perspectives of three distinct characters, we are confronted with a shared vision of trauma—different yet united in the darkness it encompasses.

A Southern Horror With Disturbing Themes

What Josiah Saw is a deeply disturbing blend of southern horror that peels back the layers of a troubled author’s horrifying tales. It wastes no time in establishing a bleak and nihilistic vision, a narrative that may deter some from fully exploring its macabre intricacies. Although the film may occasionally struggle to maintain focus within its deliberate pace, its culmination at the finish line provides a gratifying and captivating journey for those willing to explore its depths.


In conclusion, Vincent Grashaw’s What Josiah Saw is a chilling exploration of generational trauma and the haunting power it holds over a fractured family. The film’s ability to evoke a sense of oppressiveness and unnerving realism is magnified by its exceptional score and narrative pace. While it deviates from traditional horror tropes, it imparts a deeply disturbing experience that lingers long after the credits roll. What Josiah Saw is an enthralling testament to the lasting effects of trauma and the dark realms it can transport us to.


1. Is What Josiah Saw a horror film?

No, What Josiah Saw does not conform to the conventional horror genre with jump scares and supernatural elements. Instead, it delves into the unnerving and real-life horror of generational trauma, offering a deeply disturbing narrative experience.

2. How does the film explore trauma and its effects?

What Josiah Saw takes a unique approach to exploring trauma by examining its impact on different generations within a family. It highlights the lasting scars, psychological distress, and disconcerting aftermath that trauma can inflict on individuals and their relationships.

3. Is the film suitable for all audiences?

Given its deeply disturbing and unsettling themes, What Josiah Saw may not be suitable for all viewers. It includes depictions of psychological distress, abuse, and intense moments that may be distressing to some. Viewer discretion is advised.

4. How does the film differentiate itself from other tales of trauma?

While there are various narratives that explore trauma and its generational impact, What Josiah Saw stands out for its nihilistic and disconcerting portrayal. It immerses viewers in an atmosphere of haunting realism, where the line between reality and horror becomes blurred.

5. Where can I watch What Josiah Saw?

What Josiah Saw is exclusively available for streaming on Shudder, starting on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Viewers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia/New Zealand can enjoy this chilling film on the Shudder platform.