Joshua uses the tropes left behind by The Good Son and The Omen (mostly resembling the latter, more yuppie-centric remake) to hollow effect but has the sort of suggestive, campy thriller sensibility thats plainly derivative while also being surprisingly bent upon highbrow preoccupations of upper-middle class anxieties and the latent dissimulations of family dynamics.
Wall Street pays for Brad Cairn and his wife Abbys (Sam Rockwell, and a wildly unhinged Vera Farmiga) West Side apartment next to Central Park and their precociously talented son, Joshuas (Jacob Kogan) intellectual pursuits that consist of music, museums and mummification. Clearly working from the tempestuous redirections of a childs angst and emotive lashings from perceived insecurities of being alienated and misunderstood, director George Ratliff forges a none too subtle mystery surrounding Joshuas predilection for creepiness that involves musical-theatre loving Uncle Ned (Dallas Roberts).
When taken as a straightforward thriller, Ratliffs often clunky and overwrought depictions of dour little boys in mini-suits start to wear thin as soon the film begins boldly implicating Joshuas self-fulfilling prophecy down the path of a sociopath. Its just all the more disappointing when the film doesnt realise how to explore its most thought provoking aspects of familial discords stemming from neglect and self-involvement and instead veers from one outlandish scene to the next in order to justify each preceding scene.
Being different is akin to being evil in the case of this film. While bible thumpers get the short shrift by deranged Hebrews with postpartum depression, homophobia rears its ugly head and introverted children that prefer higher minded hobbies are mocked and self-labelled as nothing short of weird. By the time its end credits start to roll, you might have already made up your mind on whether Joshua is the years most subversively funny film or the years most ridiculously offensive.