Joshua

If last year's Omen remake didn't slake your thirst for demonic children, try this creepy indie about a brilliant, morbidly obsessed nine-year-old (Jacob Kogan) who begins to go off the rails after his wealthy Manhattan parents (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) bring home his newborn little sister. Director and coscreenwriter George Ratliff, whose 2001 documentary Hell House looked at Christian fundamentalists, brings some interesting social shadings to the familiar demon-seed plot elements: as Joshua grows increasingly weird and dangerous, fissures in the family are irritated by his paternal grandmother, a shrill born-again Christian (the irreplaceable Celia Weston), and his maternal uncle (Dallas Roberts), a sophisticated gay man. Ratliff fails to deliver on any of these ideas and the ending falters badly, but as horror flicks go this is both smart and suspenseful. R, 105 min.

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