Father Josiah Graham (Robert Patrick) and son Tommy (Scott Haze) are boozing away in the family farm home while up the road there’s a conversation taking place between a town official and representatives from a company who want to buy the land to exploit. The fact that the Graham’s are unlikely to sell and a terrible story of family tragedy, that blights the area, does nothing to dampen their interest.

Elsewhere the viewer is introduced to Tommy’s siblings: Eli (Nick Stahl) and Mary (Kelli Garner). Eli is a bum and gigolo a wastrel who has got himself into debt with a local villain who wants to kill. But a story about carnival Romani gold gets him another chance plus more than he counted on when his fortune is told.

Mary meanwhile is desperate for a child and looking for to adopt with her husband Ross (Tony Hale). It’s an uneven process with Mary having her doubts and nightmares then suggested that she is examined by a psychiatrist to assess her suitability. Both receive letters regarding the family and the oil company making them offers. Deciding to accept the offer and finally wipe away the blight that has infected their family they decide to return to the farm on last time to settle their affairs.

Close or not so close observers will work out some of this quite quickly. It does though just about manage to keep the attention with some excellent acting from a strong cast and very good writing. Visually it’s a grim looking film – even ugly – with moments of stark violence.
It does however become ponderous at times (Eli’s section for example it just too long and feels out of place.) as it doesn’t have that slowburn, grinding, unsettling stealth that can keep a viewer’s attention fixed that director Vincent Grashaw and writer Robert Alan Dilts were aiming for.

There are just too many dips in the pacing with an uneven ambience as it drifts from American rural gothic to carnival supernatural to suburban middle class dinner parties.

What Josiah Saw will be on Shudder from 4 August.