Joshua (Ratliff, 2007)

Add this titular character to the long list of cinematic child sociopaths. Joshua, a disturbed eight-year-old genius going on fifty, tears his family apart when a newborn sister intrudes on his dominance. Well meaning but idiotic New York parents Sam Rockwell and Vera Farminga remain unbelievably stupefied through the first two acts, flying blind to the fact their son is reeking havoc not only in their own apartment, but in school and at Central Park as well. The film squanders countless moments of tension through typical genre cliches, but surprisingly gets better as the demon kid comes out of his shell. Horror fans in particular might appreciate the final twenty minutes, where Joshua’s plotting, pandering, and punishing demeanor embark on a calculated final solution worthy of Hannibal Lector.

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