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Joshua(2007) Movie Ending Explained- A Sociopathic Kid Manipulates His Way To The Life He Wanted

Creepy kid movies are a dime a dozen. It all started with the Bad Seed and escalated from there. The psychopaths, the sociopaths, the possessed, and the just born evil types that litter the screen range from genuinely terrified like Damien and Reagan to the lovably kooky as in Coraline. The Village of the Damned and the original Children of the Corn both used kids to destroy towns and, lest we forget, those creepy kids who aren’t even kids at all- looking at you, Esther from Orphan. Just because they are a horror mainstay doesn’t mean they aren’t scary. In fact, there is a reason there are so many of them. Children are adorable but also deeply disturbing. They say and do weird things and are wildly unpredictable. I say this as a mother of two. Joshua is of the born bad variety.

2007’s Joshua from director George Ratliffe starring Vera Farmiga, Sam Rockwell, and Jacob Kogan is a psychological thriller about one of the most sinister kids you will ever meet. Joshua is not a typical nine-year-old boy. He is a piano prodigy, a quiet loner, and an odd child who wears a permanent scowl. Shortly after his baby sister is born, his parents begin to worry that Joshua isn’t just a bright, misunderstood boy. His tiny calm face might hide a monster capable of anything.

It is obvious immediately that Joshua is different. He makes declarative statements about dead people in their home, becomes obsessed with mummification, and changes his piano recital piece to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star instead of the classical work he had planned unexpectedly. Then there are the warning signs that go unheeded. His grandmother and family pet dies. His sister cries incessantly when he is around and sounds from her nursery alert them to dangers they can’t explain. Yet, Joshua is also always there, acting preternaturally mature and stoic. At first, the pressures of caring for a fussy newborn are blamed. But, it isn’t the first time Abby(Farmiga) suffered from postpartum depression. Joshua was a difficult baby, and the home videos Joshua watched showed her in crisis.

Joshua begins pitting Abby and Brad against each other. He systematically tortures his mother by making the baby constantly cry when she is around and then tells Brad he is the better parent because he can calm the baby down. Brad doesn’t know that Joshua has been hiding his sister’s pacifier, so she can’t be calmed when Abby is around. Joshua also designs a carefully controlled “accident” to force Brad to take Abby to a doctor and medicate her for depression. Anyone would be stressed by lack of sleep and hormonal fluctuations after birth, and Brad thinks that is all it is. He also is dealing with a problem at the office and an overbearing boss.

The rift between the two widens as bodies pile up and Abby’s mental health deteriorates. She hears constant noise on the floor above her bedroom and becomes unable to care for herself or her children. The animals at school all mysteriously die, and later the dog. Brad loved the dog, but he was one more obstacle between Joshua and his end goal. His parents struggle to understand what is happening until his cruelty is witnessed firsthand. He was the last person with Buster before he died, which makes Brad suspicious, but he can’t believe his son would kill the dog until it is too late.

When they finally start reconnecting and seem on the verge of stability, Brad’s grandmother takes Joshua to church and stirs up a whole bunch of problems. Abby is Jewish, and she and Brad had agreed to let Joshua decide his faith when he was old enough to make that decision. Hazel pushes Brad to leave Abby and take the kids to his childhood home. It’s an ugly scene that devolves quickly. When Abby’s brother takes Hazel out for the evening, Abby is left home with the kids. Exhausted, stressed, and emotional, she is no match for Joshua.

He begins gaslighting her with pointed questions about a Mommy’s love which is just a ruse to get her to play a dangerous game of hide and seek. He wants to drive her to the breaking point. Brad comes home and finds Abby upstairs, nearly comatose, and the baby in her crib with Joshua. Thats cause Abby to become enraged, but that is what Joshua wants. It forced Brad to have Abby committed to a mental facility, effectively getting rid of her.

Joshua is a bright boy. However, he has above-average intelligence and zero empathy. Everything he did, from making his mother think he was hurting the baby to killing the animals, was designed to increase their stress. Brad begins putting the pieces together when he sees a video recorded by Joshua where he hurt his sister late at night. While Brad was hurrying to the Museum to meet his mother and children, Hazel left the baby with Joshua, who promptly took it to the top of a tall set of stairs and prepared to push her down them. Brad and Hazel stopped him, but unfortunately, just seconds later, Hazel fell/was pushed down the stairs. Although it happens off-camera, it is clear Joshua did it.

He tries to tell Ned, Abby’s brother, what he suspects, but Ned doesn’t believe him. Joshua then starts his end game. He whispers to his uncle something about Brad to make Ned worry about Joshua’s safety. Joshua’s psychological assault on his father ramps up into a sick cat-and-mouse game of wills. Brad brings the baby into his bedroom and installs locks to keep them safe from Joshua at night, but he can’t be everywhere at once. Brad even contacts a child psychologist, but even that is turned around in Joshua’s favor. Joshua can create a narrative of child abuse and fear. Instead of treating Joshua, the doctor becomes convinced Brad is hurting Joshua.

Later, Brad tries to send Joshua away to boarding school, and he hides from his father. He has a terrible bruise on his back when he finally shows up late at night. Father and son embrace, and Brad apologizes for everything. They snuggle together through the night, but when he wakes the following day, Joshua sits on his bed, feeding his sister a bottle. He asks to go to the park and ensures that Lilly will cry the whole time. At the park, Joshua refuses to give his father the pacifier, and a very public scene ends with Brad’s hitting him repeatedly until other adults step in. Brad is arrested, and Lilly and Joshua are sent to live with Ned.

The ending of Joshua explained

The film ends with Joshua playing the piano with his uncle. Joshua says this is how things should have been, which is an odd thing to say after losing both parents. But, as he sings about always wanting to be with his uncle, the movers find all the fake drawings, a white glove used to tamper with his mother’s medication, and his dead guinea pig, who he had cut open and mummified.

Joshua has been planning this the entire time. First, he tampered with Abby’s medication to frame Brad and have his mother committed. He then staged the scene in the park after hurting himself to have bruises to show the authorities. All of it was to get rid of his parents and move in with Ned. Likely, his sister will not be long for this world unless someone can outwit the monster child. Who knows why Joshua thinks Ned will be a better parent. Little kids think the craziest things.