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This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.

"Cobweb subverts expectations throughout it's runtime to create one of the most effective horrors of the year."

Directed by Samuel Bodin and starring Woody Norman (C'mon C'mon), Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls) and Antony Starr (The Boys), Cobweb is a horror film following a young boy named Peter who is plagued by a mysterious tapping noise coming from inside his bedroom walls. After his parents insist it is in his imagination, Peter's fear intensifies, leading him to believe his parents may be hiding a dangerous secret. With horrifying scares, tremendous performances and an intriguing premise, Cobweb subverts expectations throughout it's runtime to create one of the most effective horrors of the year.

2023 has delivered some decent horror movies so far, but many can agree that the scare factor has been a little lacking. Luckily, Cobweb came out of the shadows just in time to change that. It is an utterly terrifying affair, delivering some of the scariest imagery we have seen all year. It builds tension perfectly, utilising every moment of its run-time to build up to a shocking, memorable and chilling climax. It also reminds us how effective the fear of the unknown is – Cobweb's reveal does not occur until the final moments, leaving us wanting more yet feeling afraid to uncover the truth. Not showing us the true horrors of the movie means it's scary all the way through, not once letting it's audience settle because they know what's in store. It also uses more than just a couple of jump scares to freak us out – it features clever use of shadows, a nightmare sequence, creepy dialogue, an eerie atmosphere and maybe two of the freakiest parents possibly ever put to screen. This one definitely isn't for the faint of heart.


What makes Cobweb so interesting is that it feels familiar and gives horror fans what they're used to, yet manages to subvert expectations at the same time. It's creepy house setting isn't exactly brand new, nor are the freaky parents or hearing noises in the dead of night, but the twists and turns along the way help to provide something a little more unique. Just when you think you know where the plot is taking you, it throws a curveball and manages to keep you on your toes. It also feels like an atmospheric, haunting fairytale at times, with it's dark gothic setting. This is amplified by the fact we don't quite know what's real and what's in Peter's imagination until the end. Many complain about the lack or original horror stories out there – this one is worth keeping on your radar.

The performances in Cobweb are outstanding, amplifying the horror to incredibly high heights. Lizzy Caplan, who is memorable to most for her turns in comedy, excels in the creepy Mum role. Providing a huge majority of this movies scares, the way she delivers her dialogue is so chilling, and that smile she does will stick with you long after your viewing. Antony Starr proves once again that he is so good at being bad, delivering that troublesome, evil smirk that audiences have come to know and love with ease. The pair work so well together, becoming a very unsettling duo that are hard to trust. Young Woody Norman delivers a great performance at such a young age, especially from a script that demands a lot from him. He is at the heart of the movie, becoming easy to root for, and Norman embodies the fears of his character very well.


Although the script does well to subvert expectations, it's also far from perfect. There are a few loose threads in Cobweb that don't get tied up by the end, some of the plot points often feeling like they don't have a place in the story. There is also one character who doesn't quite work, as she is under-written and makes bad decisions purely to keep the plot moving forward. Whilst some conveniences need to be accepted, particularly in the horror genre, some of her actions are way too hard to believe and are frustrating. It bites off a little more than it can chew overall, committing to too many different things and not hammering down on one thing enough.

For many, Cobweb will be the scariest movie of the year so far. It utilises jump scares, nightmare visuals, a dark and dingy setting, incredible performances and excellent tension building to create a memorable horror flick. Having too many intriguing ideas make it slightly convoluted at times, though it's undeniably fun to see something so original. Cobweb boasts excellent cinematography with it's use of shadows, and the fantastic score brings everything together nicely. It's non-existent marketing has done a massive disservice to a movie that could be so widely liked, so make sure this one doesn't slip the net.


Cobweb rating


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