No Guest Found in this category
Slow-burn What Josiah Saw, starring Robert Patrick, Nick Stahl, Scott Haze and Kelli Garner, is a dark and brooding psychological thriller, exclusive to horror streaming platform Shudder.
In 2022, it can be easy for filmmakers to overdo it with VFX, but the latest offering from director Vincent Grashaw utilises practical effects to elevate the film’s more haunting aspects.
“There were a couple of things, like where there was a wire or something and we’d VFX that out or needed some lightning in the background,” he tells. “There’s a couple of times where it’s really subtle and most people probably miss it… but a lot of it is practical.”
There are so many lingering, chilling moments on screen and Grashaw reveals that there’s even more out there that didn’t make the final cut.
“Our first cut was two hours and 38 minutes, so I cut a significant amount in the edit after I assembled the whole movie and felt confident about the first fine cut,” Grashaw tells.
“I was trying at that point to get it under 2 hours, and I think at that point I got it to 1 hour, 57 [minutes] or something without credits and I was like, ‘As long as I’m under 2 hours, I’m cool.’
“It kind of requires an audience member, for this movie, to really invest in that pace for the reward at the end,” he adds. “It was funny, I was looking at the deleted scenes we sent to Shudder for the behind-the-scenes and I don’t really miss any of the deleted scenes, to be honest.”
Grashaw elaborates on the slow-burn approach to the film, which is told in three chapters. It tells the story of a damaged family reuniting at their remote farmhouse after two decades. It’s there they confront long-buried secrets and sins of the past.
“This script to me, it took you on a ride, and the effect was you were slowly being dipped in ooze and before you know it, it was too hard to get out, you’re stuck in it,” he says. “Or, like boiling water – it takes a while to see the bubbles finally but once you do, you’re like, ‘How did I get here?’
The score of What Josiah Saw also feels very unique and chilling. Grashaw tells that he was “living” with the film for five or six years before it was financed and so he had a lot of time to ponder key elements.
“I felt the score was going to bridge this movie together,” he says. “We may be venturing into other chapters and other tones but this score is going to bridge it.
“I pulled a lot of temp score and put it in a music cue reference script… when we hired [composer] Robert Pycior, I just handed him that PDF of the music cue script and he ran with it. I pulled a lot of Krzysztof Penderecki, Joseph Bishara – those were two big ones. [Robert] is great… he plays those instruments himself. I really wanted it to be real instruments, not synths, not from a keyboard.”
Grashaw goes on to explain how essential it was that the film felt real, in every aspect.
“The movie is grounded in a reality that is kind of more scary than any monster or ghost,” he says. “I think the way the script tackled trauma and how it basically is something you can’t cure – it’s only something you can manage – and to see how these three characters have managed over twenty-three years and where they are was a fascinating way to do it.
“Which is why I did it in chapters, to really get involved and see who they are, how they are and the lives they’re living separate from the house and see what brings them all back. The power of religion, manipulation, and figuring out which is the motive for Josiah – what is their motive, and I feel there’s two separate motives, completely different from each other and they both hold water the whole movie… I felt it would get people disagreeing.”
Grashaw reveals some of his biggest horror inspirations while working on What Josiah Saw.
“I would say, a big inspiration for the movie was this war movie called Come and See (1985). It’s a World War II movie, a Russian film – it really was the only movie I’ve ever seen that captured what it probably really is like to feel like you’re in war. It’s like a horror movie. It is a horror movie.”
He continues, “Sure, there’s been war movies like Saving Private Ryan (1998) that are really brutal and intense… but Come and See, you just never want to see it again… that really affected how I wanted to tackle this movie.
“I like a weird type of horror. Over the last five-ten years, there’s been the elevated ones like Hereditary (2018), which I like. It Follows (2014) was great and The Babadook (2014), but there’s so many really fun ones to explore. Horror’s doing so well right now.”
‘What Josiah Saw’ is now streaming exclusively on Shudder