JOSHUA (Dir. George Ratliff, 2007)

The Yuppies are back (did they really ever go away?) in this expertly crafted psychological thriller that fuses the ornately technical sensibilities of Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby with the bombast of The Omen. The result is one very claustrophobic work, visualising the descent of a family into ruin who become increasingly imprisoned in their high-class New York apartment. Director George Ratliff succeeds at creating a deeply impressionistic horror, favouring a mounting tone of dread than going for the jugular. This is equally a film about motherhood, a terrifying take on post-natal depression, much of it channelled through the exhausting performance by Vera Farmiga as a mother who begins to lose her mind, much of it orchestrated by her son – a piano prodigy psycho child of Satan. The link to the world of finance is made concrete in the obnoxious Yuppie aspirations of the father played by Sam Rockwell, the suggestion that horror and capitalism exist in a twisted parallel actuality. The ending is superbly underplayed, consolidating Jacob Kogan’s exquisite performance as the disturbed Joshua.

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