Cobweb Review

Antony Starr and Lizzy Caplan are some absolutely terrifying parents in this polarizing horror venture, produced by Seth Rogen.

PLOT: Horror strikes when an eight-year-old boy named Peter tries to investigate the mysterious knocking noises that are coming from inside the walls of his house and a dark secret that his sinister parents kept hidden from him.

REVIEW: When it film comes along that connects with you, it’s easy to let some flaws slip aside. While there have been plenty of great horror films released this year, something about Cobweb spoke to me in a deep way. I always love a film that plays with expectations and this one manages that with gusto. Even watching the trailer, it’s easy to create a certain picture of what the film will be about. But as the story progresses, it takes you on a journey where you’re constantly second-guessing character motivations and picking them apart. And I think a lot of that has to do with the cast.

The story of Cobweb concerns young Peter as he’s trying to find out the mystery of the voice in his walls. I’d never seen young Woody Norman before but he really impresses here. He has an extremely tough job as Peter isn’t the most endearing person to portray. He’s often making the wrong choice and very timid, even when he’s being bullied. But it’s his parents, played by Antony Starr and Lizzy Caplan, that will have you on the edge of your seat. Starr is known to most as Homelander from The Boys, but here he plays the villain of a different sort. His casting gives the viewer some preconceived notions about the character. As he further leans into it, it’s hard not to see bits of Homelander seep through. And then there’s Caplan, who brings a little Shelley Duvall in The Shining to her performance.

I also really enjoyed Cleopatra Coleman who appeared earlier this year in what I would say is the best film of the year, Infinity Pool. Like that film, Coleman is a bit underutilized but this isn’t her story and she fits her role as a concerned teacher perfectly. I was very conflicted with her character as I was often wanting to yell at the screen for her to not get involved. Yet she’s one of the only people in the film that feels like she can help poor Peter. And with how much she stands up to both perceived monsters and real ones, it’s hard not to be a fan of her character.

The visuals are phenomenal every step of the way. I was shocked at just how often I was enamored with a shot. Whether it was the framing or the kinetic movement or even the colors, everything stands out. I adored how director Samuel Bodin played with darkness, particularly when it came to reveals. Because there’s a fine line between needless jumpscare and building tension toward a payoff. But I’d say this falls more in the latter category, never feeling cheap. If anything, all of them work well for the story being told.

Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr in Cobweb (2023).

With all of that said, the third act is going to be quite polarizing. But because of its complex nature, I feel like I would be doing a massive disservice to the film, by discussing it here. So I’ll refrain and just say that it turns everything on its head and is either going to make you love or hate it. It’s hard to not immediately draw comparisons to James Wan’s Malignant. A bit of a mystery that goes absolutely insane at a certain point. And like that film, people are going to have some very polarizing views on it. As a lover of the bats#$! insane, I was on board for this as soon as the blinds opened to the mystery. The final act of the film feels so absurdly different from the first hour, yet it all comes together splendidly. I’ve never been more antsy to see the general reaction to a film before, as Cobweb is my favorite horror film of the summer so far.


A clip from the Seth Rogen-produced horror film Cobweb offers a preview of a scene involving an awkward house visit


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