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The birth of a new baby is supposed to be cause for celebration—but in Joshua, the arrival of baby Lily is just the beginning of an eerie story about sibling rivalry at its darkest.

Brad and Abby Cairn (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) are thrilled to welcome Lily into their family—but big brother Joshua (played by remarkably talented Jacob Kogan) isn’t quite so sure. The brilliant nine-year-old already questioned his parents’ love for him—after all, it isn’t really normal for a nine-year-old to be so musically gifted, or so perfectly polite—but when his baby sister arrives, everything changes. The baby gets all the attention—and Joshua is pretty much left to take care of himself.

It isn’t long, though, until Lily stops being so adorable. It seems as though she never stops crying—and Abby is so exhausted that she starts coming slightly unhinged. Meanwhile, Brad’s trying to do his best to take care of his family, but his high-pressure job is suffering. And, gradually, the Cairn family is falling apart.

It only takes one word to describe Joshua: creepy. It’s not a blatant scream-fest, nor is it a bizarre sci-fi thriller. Instead, it’s more like classic Hitchcock—subtle, but chilling. And it’s done exceptionally well.

Right from the beginning, Joshua will make you feel uneasy. Just like Brad and Abby, you’ll want to believe that Joshua’s just a little bit different—because we all know what it’s like to feel different, right?—but, at the same time, you can’t help but feel that the boy just ain’t right. And as the story continues—with the family falling deeper and deeper into utter chaos—you’ll know that something’s gone horribly wrong.

This psychological thriller moves at an excruciatingly slow pace—but that doesn’t mean it’s dull. Not in the slightest. No matter how slowly it moves, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. And, in fact, the pace only adds to the film’s hauntingly uncomfortable feeling. It just feels right—yet, at the same time, it feels absolutely stifling. That perfect pacing never falters—nor does Kogan’s creepy, calculating composure. For such a young actor, this kid is downright amazing (and did I mention creepy?).

My only complaint is that, after such a gripping and suspenseful build-up, the film’s conclusion isn’t entirely satisfying—but it’s still a delectably disturbing movie. So if you love those unsettling old Hitchcock classics, you won’t want to miss Joshua.

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