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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
1,259 ( 4,162)




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

A Short Film Masterpiece.
10 May 2015 | by calvinherrmannSee all my reviews

Let's be real here... Short films don't really have a place in the world in terms of global mass media. They are usually only seen by film-aholics or by people involved in the film arena (directors, producers, cinematographers, film critics, film students & professors, etc.) Ask any 'normal person' who doesn't know who David Lynch is, or doesn't have a strong opinion on the films of Hitchcock, if they can name just ONE short film... And I'd bet a million bucks they can't. name. one. My point is...

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons defies this rule.

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons is the only short film I've ever seen that I can show someone who isn't a 'film person' and they are completely engaged from the very first scene, to the very end, every - single - time. It's the ONLY short film that - MULTIPLE TIMES - I have told people about in a living room, and they become so enticed, we whip it out on someone's computer screen, and in the midst of a large hang out session, 9 people are so completely transfixed for nearly 30 minutes, and ALWAYS walk away with a strong visceral reaction.

Ari Aster is a Great director who understand precisely what makes the world wide audience sit on the edge of their seats. The original soundtrack by Brendan Eder is unforgettable in its use of beauty over the sadistic nature of the characters. Billy Mayo delivers a indelible disturbing performance with unnerving authenticity.

In 20 years, The Strange Thing About the Johnsons will STILL be one of the only short films you can sit a big group of people -- (the kind of people who've never been to a film festival in their life, aka 98% of all world movie watchers) -- a big group of people down in a living room and play, and NO ONE will pull out their phones from boredom. It is, without a doubt, if there ever was such a thing...

A short film masterpiece.

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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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