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Home > Cobweb (2023): A Review

Cobweb (2023): A Review


Cobweb Will Rule the World With Devastating Force

Strange knocks and noises are necessary in the history of bedtime stories and scary movies. These bumps, taps, and thumps are the beginning of every young child’s nightmare. Now, a new evil has come to the horror movie genre that may jump-start the phonophobia (fear of loud sounds) of audiences everywhere. Cobweb is the story of the isolated young Peter who must deal with haunting sounds in his room at night while his parents tell him it’s all in his mind. Peter learns that they have a secret, but since they hide it in the walls of their home, Peter is left to figure things out alone. Peter becomes desperate when his parents are abusive, stealing his childhood because of their fears. Samuel Bodin directed Cobweb, while Chris Thomas Devlin wrote it. Lionsgate Movies produced the film, which will be released on July 21, 2023.

What Dreams May Destroy Your Heart

Cobweb begins with a dark air of foreboding. Colors of brown, black, and dark, muted blue all help to emphasize the feeling of trepidation. One of the first scenes is of a small pumpkin patch with pumpkins suffering from malaise or disease. There are no sincere smiles here. Whatever happiness is conjured is a counterfeit to trick other characters into thinking things are more optimistic than they are. Peter (Woody Norman) and his family live in an old house with chipping paint and a general run-down appearance. The whole scenario is reminiscent of classics such as Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, where there is a focus on the house in which much of the action takes place. The fear of not being safe in the home is intense.

Peter begins to hear unmistakable noises in his bedroom, and his mother starts out loving and kind, all while telling Peter that it’s just their old house or in his “big, beautiful imagination.” Even worse, Peter has no friends and is bullied at school. Unknown sources are pushing him to fight back in ways that could hurt him and others, and the fact that his parents are not telling him the truth means he has no one with the wisdom to discuss his problems. It’s difficult to watch this sweet, young boy handle these overwhelming issues alone in isolation. Peter finds himself doing things he would never have done and paying the consequences. Cobweb is unique in that the cinematography is reminiscent of the illustrations in a children’s book but with a gray, sad quality. Directing his first full-length film, Samuel Bodin is known for directing eight episodes of the French horror Netflix series Marianne. This movie, including the plot, pacing, setting, and aesthetic, just worked. It was frightening in the fashion of a children’s nursery rhyme. Even the gore is the color of muted blood in dark brown and black. Also, this movie has plenty of haunting piano music, which lends to the lonely atmosphere. The music includes bass-stringed instruments that lend to the jump scares.

The Characters Make the Film Stunning

 Peter’s mother, Carol (Lizzy Caplan), is fragile but at the same time flirting with the edge of sanity. Caplan does a fantastic job playing both sides of the coin. She sometimes displays a maniacal smile but is unnaturally jerky and creepy under stress. In contrast, Peter’s father, Mark (Antony Starr), is intimidating and scary. Starr adds a menacing quality to his character that would bring chills to anyone. Cleopatra Coleman plays Miss Devine, a kind, caring substitute teacher who senses the danger that Peter may be dealing with. Miss Devine feels the urgency to save Peter, but she has no idea how. Woody Norman (Peter) did a great job playing a terrified child lacking in hope or dependable adults. Still, all the actors communicate that the characters are not as they appear. As in many films, the audience learns at the end that if the quilt is turned over, one will see the other side appears messy without explanation.

Ellen Dubin is the voice of the unknown. She does a fierce job of using one voice to help Peter feel comfortable; later, her voice changes to open Peter’s eyes. These changes accentuate the change in her character and are the perfect way to emphasize the truth about who she is. Cobweb is a departure from writer Chris Thomas Devlin’s earlier work, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022). Even though they are both horror, they are very different. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is more of the consummate horror film, while Cobweb is more like the ideal, scary nursery rhyme of yesterday. Many of the original nursery rhymes were terrifying for adults and children alike. All in all, these cast members were perfectly chosen for their characters. The cinematography was distinctive. It moved around the scenes as though the audience was watching critters from the corner of the eye. What was happening wasn’t very clear at times, but that was done on purpose. All these details helped make the film the great work it is.

Don’t Stop the Goose Pimples From Taking Over the World 

Cobweb is a unique film told in the tradition of the nursery rhyme. The actors, the cinematography, the colors, and all the elements combine to create a movie that is more than your average horror film. It’s a nightmare that begins gently and grows within you. Still, you’ll be glad to wake up from it more than once. Watch this film multiple times to feel the goosebumps and consider the subtle night terrors this movie causes. Watching this film in theatres and streaming is a must! 

See Cobweb in theaters, opening July 21! 

Cobweb (2023) | Lionsgate | Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.