Cobweb Review

Home » Blogs » Cobweb Review

For a decent stretch, Cobweb looks like it could be this year’s Barbarian. A seven-layer dip approach gives audiences a mouthful of distinct horror flavors like home invasions, family freakshows, haunted infestations, and beyond – but it doesn’t have the legs to go the distance. Samuel Bodin proved with Netflix’s Marianne that he knows his way around distressing and volatile horror atmospheres, and he sets Cobweb against the backdrops of Halloween and an insidious distortion of the all-American household. Unfortunately, Chris Thomas Devlin’s script can’t deliver on its early promises of shock value, and its third act spins violently out of control. Cobweb swings for the fences without keeping an eye on the ball, functioning best as “Horror Vibes: The Movie,” in which dread creeps behind thick shadows and grinning jack-o’-lanterns mock from the sidelines.

Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr are amusingly unhinged as Mark and Carol, otherwise anonymous parents whose professions or histories don’t matter beyond their treatment of a terrified, constantly spooked son. Starr exudes that signature Homelander charm, provoking palpable unease despite a charismatic facade that paints Mark as the perfect father. Caplan leans all the damn way into her portrayal of Carol, skittish and of unstable mental faculties, much like a Stephen King red herring with oodles to hide. Their performances conceal horror ideas bashing at the door like boogeymen trying to escape a padlocked basement and give child star Woody Norman ample ammunition for his portrayal of a boy trying to escape not only the voices in his walls, but the caretakers preaching parental adoration from behind their crooked smiles.

Devlin’s script and Bodin’s oversight align by desecrating the phrase “home sweet home” with an almost fairy tale twinkle, which plants Cobweb firmly in gateway horror territory. Bodin’s direction stitches autumnal imagery and shifty-shady performances into comforting genre atmospheres, like being swaddled in a cursed heirloom quilt. The further Mark and Carol slip away from reality, the more eerily effective Cobweb is. Nightmares about chattering teeth and possessed doppelgangers or voices that talk to Peter from behind drywall are supplementary to Starr and Caplan’s scene-stealing qualities as captors and guardians alike.

Unfortunately, Cobweb unravels like an incomplete collection of ideas that aren’t explored to their full potential. We love a horror movie that takes place on or around Halloween, but the seasonal accompaniment of trick-or-treaters or the bountiful pumpkin patch that colors Mark and Carol’s backyard a canvas of orange are mood-setting without deeper significance. Bodin incorporates eight-legged symbolism, the sounds of knives puncturing produce, and familiar bumps in the night that horror fans will recognize but handles these macabre staples like shiny hood ornaments: They’re just there for show, which disappoints as the story barrels forward without taking care to fold these additives into the overall experience.

Devlin maps out textbook scares that might be obvious to veteran horror buffs, but will torture casual thrill-seekers packed into weekend screenings – and that’s Cobweb’s bread-and-butter demographic. Bodin’s strength lies in restoring the punch to ordinary scare blueprints, much like this year’s The Boogeyman, a monster chiller elevated by exemplary execution that understands how genuine frights can forgive other horror filmmaking sins. Marianne demonstrated Bodin’s originality, but in Cobweb, he’s playing all the hits. It’s somewhat deflating to watch him rely on other filmmakers’ terror templates – Wes Craven, James Wan, Mario Bava – until he nails punchlines worth a wince and shiver.

Even more hit-or-miss are the bombshell redirections. I award Cobweb points for having the guts to defy conventional storytelling with late-stage developments that won’t be discussed here but struggle with the muted impact these breakneck swerves achieve. As Bodin relies increasingly on Norman’s pipsqueak performance and the truth behind the voices he’s been hearing, the chaos on display isn’t exciting. The editing isn’t always precise or clean, and the screenplay rushes to the finish line with an ending that seems developed on the spot.

Cobweb rattles the hornets’ nest without a plan or foresight. That’s not a bad thing when Starr and Caplan are let off the leash, but it becomes an issue of inconsistent momentum that Bodin can only sometimes overcome.


Cobweb is a fascinating experiment that ultimately earns its keep as a spooky-scary tale about childhood trauma and unsafe households, but it succumbs to lofty ambitions. You’ve seen most of the scares before, but familiarity isn’t as dirty a word under Bodin’s command because fear doesn’t vanish. Starr and Caplan are a dream pairing as parents whose mysterious actions keep us guessing, and they’re dearly missed when they’re offscreen. There’s enough to like about Cobweb as a modern spin on Brothers Grimm fables about young victims and wicked adults, despite frustratingly incomplete storytelling. “Go big or go home,” they say – somehow, Cobweb middlingly finds itself smack between both extremes.

Also, Read On Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *