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The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011)

A dark domestic horror drama about the ties that bind and the ties that really bind.


Ari Aster


Ari Aster




Credited cast:
Billy Mayo ... Sidney
Brandon Greenhouse ... Isaiah
Angela Bullock ... Joan
Danièle Watts ... Marianne (as Daniele Watts)
Carlon Jeffery ... Young Isaiah
John C. Johnson John C. Johnson ... Mr. McGill
Reatha Grey ... Mrs. Freeman
Connie Jackson ... Grace
Stanley Bennett Clay ... Howard
Casey Desmond Casey Desmond ... Howie
Anna Jean Anna Jean ... Girl After Party
Matt Baker Matt Baker ... Truck Driver
Matthew McCray Matthew McCray ... Portrait Photographer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kay Benjamin Kay Benjamin ... Party Guest
Mark Campbell Mark Campbell ... Party Guest


The Johnsons are an attractive, well-to-do, upper-middle class family. Sidney, husband and father, is a famous poet, known and adored for his kindness and sensitivity. Joan, wife and mother, is a dutiful housewife, an obsessive homemaker and the life of every party. Their son, Isaiah, is a charismatic young man who has just gotten married to an equally appealing young woman. In fact, there is only thing that separates the Johnsons from their charming friends and neighbors: Isaiah, the son, has been molesting Sidney, the father, since he was twelve years old. And what's more, Sidney has written a memoir that chronicles, in great detail, the ins-and-outs of this unseemly father-son relationship. Will the manuscript ever see the light of day, or will young Isaiah have a thing or two to say about it? THE STRANGE THING ABOUT THE JOHNSONS is a dark satire of the domestic melodrama, which asks "What if...?" and then, for some reason, comes up with an answer. Written by Anonymous

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"The Strange Thing About the Johnsons" is the direction debut of claimed american filmmaker Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) See more »

User Reviews

psychologically tormenting cinema at its finest
31 August 2017 | by framptonhollisSee all my reviews

One of the most disturbing and evocative movies I've ever seen. this little oddity is a masterpiece of shock cinema, as well as a masterpiece of cinema in general. It's an indie short film that I hadn't heard of until yesterday and the shocked reactions it seemed to be provoking really intrigued me and all I can say is: WOW! Not only are those reactions totally justified, as this is one of the only movies to genuinely get under my skin, but they also unfortunately overshadow a deeply brilliant film. The climax, in particular, is an amazing accomplishment in the field of cinematic tone. I love films that make me feel a variety of different emotions, and there's a scene at the very end of this film that legitimately had me laughing, crying, and yelling at the same time and I don't even know how they f*cking did it! Here's a movie miracle for you, so in case the icky subject matter doesn't scare you from viewing this one too much, it's practically essential viewing, especially for aspiring filmmakers. If I were given the materials that were used to craft this gem, I'd probably try to create something like this, although I doubt I could really replicate its perfection.

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Release Date:

22 January 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)| Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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