Cobweb Review

Sunday 3 September 2023

Plot: An eight-year-old boy tries to investigate the mysterious knocking sounds that are coming from inside the walls of his house, unveiling a dark secret that his sinister parents have kept hidden from him.

Film: Cobweb

Director: Samual Bodin

Writer: Chris Thomas Devlin

Starring: Woody Norman, Lizzy Caplan, Antony Starr

Cobweb is the story of Peter (Woody Norman), who like most eight year olds, is afraid of the things that go bump in the night. Living in an old house with floorboards that creek underfoot, you’d think Peter would be used to these noises by now, but when he starts hearing a voice talking to him through his bedroom wall, his nightmares only begin to get worse. 

Set during Halloween, the fall colour palette and abundance of pumpkins was a perfect start to September, and it seems like an odd choice to release this film in July in other countries, but that’s where the UK got the better deal this time around. There was one shot in particular of a jack-o’-lantern that reminded of Halloween and that added to both the cosy autumnal vibe and the impending danger. 

Having such a young narrator for these sorts of films is always a plus, you’re never sure what to believe even as you watch it happening. This is especially helped along as his mother Carol (Lizzie Caplan) is telling Peter that he has such an overactive imagination, essentially gaslighting him and the audience into thinking maybe there is nothing going on at all. The more we see of Carol and Peter’s father Mark (Antony Starr) it becomes obvious that something is going on but it’s not until the last twenty minutes that we find out exactly what. Though it must be said that Antony Starr in particular has the perfect presence for horror, everything about his acting in this film screamed danger. 

The final act is almost a complete shift in genre, what started as something more akin to a thriller becomes supernatural when we finally get a look at who has been talking to Peter through the walls. Like with a lot of monster reveals, less really is more and I wish modern films would remember this. I was much less afraid of what I was looking at than what I had been hearing only half an hour earlier. Say it with me; less CGI and more practical effects in horror -please. 

This is a well-acted horror with a good twist and decent scares, and with a runtime of under an hour and a half, this is a good after dark venture. Unfortunately, there are plot holes that prevent this from becoming anything more than an average watch with a forgettable monster. Not one I’ll be quick to revisit. 

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