Director: George Ratliff
Screenwriters: David Gilbert, George Ratliff

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


One of the most difficult choices anyone has to make is whether or not to have a child. It is a life-altering decision that carries profound consequences even if everything goes right. But what if it goes horribly wrong?

Joshua tells the story of the quintessential well-to-do New York City family: a successful father who works on Wall Street; a mother who chooses to stay at home to care for their newborn daughter; and Joshua, a precocious young piano prodigy. With the newborn's addition, the family's dynamic shifts, and their seemingly idyllic world begins falling apart. But is it just the rigors of caring for a newborn and a little sibling rivalry…or is it something much more sinister?

George Ratliff, who directed the documentary Hell House, successfully transitions to the narrative world with a horror story disguised as a sophisticated family drama. Eschewing dark shadows and recherché camera angles, he compensates for the sinister content by favoring daylight over nighttime and preserving a straightforward, natural approach that defies expectations. Thanks to complex performances from a top-notch cast, Joshua transcends the genre to create a modern horror story that demonstrates how the potential for evil exists in the everyday.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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