Cobweb (2023) – Review


“COBWEB”

Cobweb is directed by Samuel Bodin and written by Chris Thomas Devlin. It’s a horror movie that has taken a bit longer to come out in the UK compared the US, for some reason in the US they decided to release it on the same weekend as Barbie and Oppenheimer- which obviously meant that it got no traction over there. It didn’t get much traction over here, either, considering it wasn’t even covered by Mark Commode’s programme on opening weekend. But a new release is a new release, so I decided to go and watch it.

Now, normally when I say I don’t want to go into too much detail about the story it’s because I’m trying to avoid talking about spoilers because I liked the movie and I want people to go in with complete blinders like I did. This time, I’m going to be not discussing the plot in too much detail because as much as I liked this film in the first part, it doesn’t have a good ending. The film is about a little boy named Peter (Woody Norman) who begins to hear voices at night whilst having a very strange home life mixed with a bad school life due to bullying. It starts out as a bit of mystery as to what the voices are and what is going on with Peter’s family- mainly his overprotective mother Carol (Lizzie Caplan) and his passive father (Antony Starr) who you may recognise as Homelander from The Boys.

This film actually does a very good job at making Peter’s home and school life very, very creepy. It actually has a very strong build up. The best way to describe this film without giving away too much is, if you imagine the Turpin family incident from America being turned into a home moviesomething which when that case broke, I was certain was going to happen. I haven’t seen any interviews saying that the case inspired the movie, but I’m somewhat certain since there are a lot of things in that film which mirror the case.

The film poster comes with the tagline, ‘Eventually all family secrets come to life’, which is a bit of a paraphrase since the only poster I found with the tagline was when I was exiting the cinema. They do a pretty good job overall with the build-up. There is fantastic suspense in the first part of this movie, including excellent use of lighting and shadows which felt like a harken back to the imagery of Nosferatu. It’s helped by the excellent performances in this, particularly from Lizzie Caplan and Antony Starr. It can be quite hammy at times, but it plays up to the suspense. I would say if they had nailed the climax of the film I would be coming out and saying that this was my favourite horror film of the year.

It’s actually amazing how well the film uses darkness and sound to deliver good scares as well as the feeling of being isolated and trapped. Where it fails, however, is in the ending. The ending is where it drops all of the suspense for another ‘bang’ jump scare horror movie, and it really just eradicates all of the build up from before. In my opinion, that‘s been done due to the fact that the team wanted a body count. It’s another one of those horror films that has a non-existent body count until the last act, and that can be done well, but this was an exception. I feel like it was done for marketing purposes.

The best horror movies take something that we are afraid of, and we can relate to. Cobweb doesn’t really succeed in that department. It starts that way, and then kind of throws it away. Again, I can’t give away exact details and I think people might disagree with me on this one; but in my opinion that’s where this film went wrong. Cobweb was really good for the first two acts, but the third one lets it down. Considering how expensive going to the cinema is right now, I think you should wait for some discounted tickets or for it to come onto streaming. The script in the final act did not nail it.
 
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia6th March 2024
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