FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Directed by Vincent Grashaw and written by Robert Alan Dilts, What Josiah Saw introduces audiences to the Graham family. Chapter 1 focuses on patriarch Josiah (Robert Patrick) and Thomas (Scott Haze), the youngest and only child still living at home. Thomas does not have many friends, and even his father talks to him like he’s an idiot. This is especially true regarding Thomas’ faith, which Josiah does not care for.
The second chapter is about Eli Graham (Nick Stahl), who owes money to some unsavory characters. To pay off his debt, he is forced to steal money from a nearby Romani family and winds up taking a little girl (Riley Kahn) as well. Chapter 3 focuses on Eli’s twin sister, Mary (Kelli Garner). She’s married to Ross Milner (Tony Hale), and the two are trying to adopt a baby. Mary experienced trauma, causing her to be no longer able to conceive a child.
“…reunites all three siblings at their homestead, ostensibly to sign a lucrative deal with an oil company.”
The final chapter reunites all three siblings at their homestead, ostensibly to sign a lucrative deal with an oil company. Now, they have to convince Josiah that this is the right thing to do while confronting their demons from the past. However, dealing that their shared tragic past might send them reeling even further into trouble.
There is a lot to unpack over the two hours of What Josiah Saw, to the point where that plot synopsis barely scratches the story’s surface and its themes. Each segment deals with a different genre, with the first being a sordid drama, the second a David MacKenzie-esque actioner, Mary’s story being a look at trauma, grief, and a hopeful future, while the finale goes full-on horror mode. Think Hell Or High Water if it was a horror-tragedy, not an action-drama. Somehow, Dilts makes each chapter feel fresh and like it belongs into the larger narrative at play, and that is no easy task given everything at play. Some might not entirely appreciate all the twists at the end, but looking back at how certain things played out, it all makes sense.
"…think Hell Or High Water if it was a horror-tragedy..."