When Damien—sorry, Joshua—gets a baby sister, he is not happy to lose his only child status.
Amiable, young, and attractive, Joshua’s parents (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) practically radiate success. The addition of their newborn daughter completes the perfect family portrait, filling their home with delight. Her homecoming calls for celebration, which consists of the father wielding a camcorder, the mother cradling the infant, and grandparents joyously hovering nearby. However, in all the excitement, it is a decidedly bad idea to ignore Joshua.
In this family, Joshua stands in sharp contrast. Stiff and formal, always clad in tidy suits with his hair plastered down, he is a nine-year old piano prodigy who eschews healthy childhood interests in favor of intellectual and morbid pursuits. Because they are so different from and fail to understand their child, Joshua’s parents find it easier to turn all their attention to the new child, relegating the older sibling to the sidelines. However, they would have been smarter to listen as Joshua began striking ominous notes.
Played with a creepiness that only kids can achieve, the character of Joshua is one that we’ve seen before in countless horror movies. Moreover, because of his sheer impassiveness, it’s hard to tell what his motivation actually is—if his intent is to punish his family, reconnect with his family, or simply create chaos for the sake of chaos. That said, even though the story covers familiar ground, it provides enough tension and humor in the presentation to make it worth watching (especially when unhinged father and deranged son engage in a battle of wills).
Besides, it’s always fun to watch when things fall apart.