Cobweb (2023) Movie Review - Flawed But Fun Mystery Horror

Horror | 88 Min
Cover image from horror movie Cobweb (2023)
  • Director: Samuel Bodin
  • Actors: Lizzy Caplan, Woody Norman, Cleopatra Coleman, Antony Starr
  • Writers: Chris Thomas Devlin
  • Producers: Roy Lee, Andrew Childs, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver, Josh Fagen
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Violence, Language
  • Horror | 88 Min

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.

Welcome to Knockout Horror. Today we are going to be reviewing the bizarrely titled, Seth Rogen produced, horror movie Cobweb.

Under The Radar

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect going into this movie. My fiancĂ©e picked it and I had no idea it even existed. Much of that is, likely, due to the limited promotional campaign undertaken by the movie’s creators. Something that is quite surprising given the big name producer and star laden cast. After all, with names like Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr attached, you would expect a little more noise. And that is without even mentioning the addition of production credits for Barbarian and It’s producer Roy Lee.

A screenshot from horror movie Cobweb (2023)

Cobweb starts off as something of an artsy looking horror movie full of dreamy cinematography and minimal exposition. The movie follows the story of socially awkward young boy Peter (Woody Norman). Peter is bullied at school and his home life is complicated. His parents are overly protective and just a little bit strange.

At night, Peter begins to hear noises coming from the walls of his dusty old house. Alarmed, he tells his parents who dismiss his concerns as an overactive imagination. When the innocuous noises turn to voices talking to him, Peter’s life begins to take a dark turn and long hidden secrets are revealed.

A Traditional Horror Story

Cobweb’s almost indie like horror leanings hide what is, at its core, an old fashioned monster horror story. The slow paced first half and strong focus on the troubled life of Peter barely give way to what is hiding underneath. You would be forgiven for thinking this is a slow paced, coming of age, character study more than a horror. But much like the well regarded Australian horror movie The Babadook (check out our review). Cobweb ends up surprising with the direction it goes in. Director aims to tell a traditional horror story through a slower and more considered medium.

A screenshot from horror movie Cobweb (2023)

While it works pretty well, for the most part. It’s hard not to feel that the movie is a little confused. Some of the later scenes, including the big reveal, seem desperately at odds with what comes before it. The movie’s quick shift into a faster gear produces no small amount of whiplash effect and that will throw some people off. It is enjoyable and the story is engaging. But it would be remiss of me to not point out how disparate the two sides of this coin feel.

Added to that are some very hit or miss special effects and a heavy lean into physical performance horror that has been done to death. When things really get going it all seems rather familiar and doesn’t quite land. Cobweb is at its best when it is a slow, brooding, tense horror that hints at sinister things lurking in the walls. It slips up when it abandons tension for outright full throttle horror. Still, certain scenes are sure to make for great scares at a teens sleepover but horror veterans will be left yawning. Something which, again, draws attention to the two very different sides of this movie.

Well Filmed and Great Acting

As far as the technical aspects go, Cobweb is a very nice looking movie. Long, lingering shots and clever use of lighting do a fantastic job of setting the scene. It doesn’t always hit but, for the most, part, it looks great and the shadows tell a story all of their own. This feels like a high budget horror movie. That budget is supported by the inclusion of Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield) and Antony Starr (The Boys) in leading roles.

A screenshot from horror movie Cobweb (2023)

Acting is decent throughout with most actors really digging deep into the campiness of the story. Starr is clearly having a great time and Caplan hams it up perfectly when the story calls for it. Woody Norman’s performance as Peter is commendable and he does a great job relating the character’s struggles. It’s nice to see Infinity Pool’s Cleopatra Coleman again and she also does a nice job. Pacing is fairly decent though the story does drag its feet a little in the middle.

Should You Watch Cobweb?

I think Cobweb is absolutely worth a watch. It doesn’t quite nail the landing and the two halves of the movie can feel very at odds with each other. But, overall, this is a very watchable horror movie with plenty to like. Acting is great, the story, for the most part, is interesting and there is some decent tension to keep things ticking along early on. It slips up a bit with the big reveal and suffers from some typical horror pitfalls but Cobweb manages to stay pretty enjoyable. It’s not going to blow anyone away but as a popcorn horror or sleepover movie, it’s a good option.

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