Cobweb movie review(2023)
The eerie occurrences in Peter’s bedroom, initially just unsettling sounds, begin to take the form of a trapped voice within the walls. Although this voice initially frightens Peter, it eventually becomes a strange source of solace amidst his parents’ growing frustration with his behavior. This spectral presence evolves into an enigmatic guardian angel of sorts, offering advice that, as Peter soon discovers, is not entirely benevolent. The cinematic world of Samuel Bodin’s “Cobweb,” heightened by the ominous cinematography of Philip Lozano, strives to unsettle, yet falls short of its intended level of horror. Jump scares lack their intended impact, and the plot twists unfold predictably. The film manages a subtle sense of unease, akin to water that never quite reaches boiling point. Despite its efforts, something crucial is amiss, leaving the concoction lacking in substance and satisfaction.
The fundamental elements of a horror movie are present: Peter (Woody Norman), an isolated young boy plagued by auditory hallucinations and let down by his disconcerting parents, Carol (Lizzy Caplan) and Mark (Antony) Starr), whose actions ruin Peter’s Halloween. A compassionate teacher named Miss Devine (Cleopatra Coleman) exhibits more concern for Peter’s welfare than his own parents. Amidst these familiar elements lies the unearthly voice within the walls, its true nature a revelation that won’t be spoiled here. Notwithstanding its supernatural intrigue and arachnid motifs, “Cobweb” possesses the framework of a horror narrative, yet it remains underdeveloped.
“Cobweb” is fraught with misdirection; narrative threads are introduced but ultimately lead nowhere. For instance, the mystery of a missing trick-or-treater, which Carol and Mark exploit to deny Peter his Halloween festivities, is introduced but later fizzles out once resolved. Bullies torment Peter intermittently, their presence diminishing until a predictable, climactic confrontation. A particularly misplaced moment involves Miss Devine visiting Carol and Mark. Observing a gash on Mark’s forearm, she questions him, only to be met with a nonchalant response. This exchange serves little purpose other than to underscore Mark’s suspicious behavior, which had already been evident. The film’s pacing is marred by such disjointed scenes.
Even episodes of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” manage to sustain more suspense than “Cobweb,” a lackluster experience that left me revisiting it in hopes of uncovering missed nuances—yet, my efforts were in vain. Both Antony Starr and Lizzy Caplan infuse their characters with an erratic energy, and Woody Norman, known for his role in “C’mon C’mon,” garners sympathy as the tormented Peter. However, their performances fail to reinvigorate the lifeless “Cobweb.” Cleopatra Coleman’s role, though limited, is overshadowed by the film’s singular focus on Peter and his introspective moments amid parental reproach. Despite its nods to “The Shining” and the disconcerting notion that parents might harbor hidden facets, “Cobweb” is ultimately an unremarkable endeavor, best forgotten.
Currently showing in theaters.
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