Cobweb stars Anthony Starr (The Boys), Lizzy Caplan (Fatal Attraction), and Woody Norman (C’mon C’mon) as a quaint and quiet family whose young son Peter is struggling at school due to his quirky nature. At home, Peter starts hearing taps and knocks against his wall deep into the night, keeping him up and sending him crying to his parents room. As his imagination soars and the taps and noises intensify while his parents assure him there is nothing going on, Peter starts believing his parents may be harboring something sinister within the walls.
Cobweb comes to us from Samuel Bodin who dazzled horror fans with his Netflix horror series Marianne in 2019. He does another solid directing job here, really highlighting some fun and unique work with shadows throughout and connecting the fibers of a lot of plot points unraveling at once. Anthony Starr and Lizzy Caplan both do a terrific job of bringing the creep factor. There always is an air of something being off about them, but they play it straight enough where the viewers are constantly questioning early on. Woody Norman and Cleopatra Coleman (Infinity Pool) also should be mentioned with both turning in excellent performances. Child actors generally hold a movie like this in their hands and Norman spun an emotionally thrilling and believable tale throughout.
Cobweb’s storyline is bisected into two radically different halves. The first half is essentially a family drama with a constant and unsettling buildup of dread, while the second half becomes a violent campy romp that really invokes some 80’s creature feature vibes. The pacing can definitely feel a bit like a roller coaster here, with a slow winding buildup that culminates with a breakneck finale. Cobweb was ultimately anchored down by an original and fresh concept that pulls from the darkest recesses of fairytales and fear. For all it does right, Cobweb gets a little bit caught up in its own web at times. The pacing changes can feel like whiplash and the misdirection can become a little overbearing at points. There were a few loose ends that could have been tied up that got left by the wayside that seemed placed solely for the purpose of distraction or misdirection. While the vibes and setting was there, the scares itself felt a little muted. The build itself was incredibly enjoyable but the destination felt like it lacked some of that oomph that it needed to truly payoff. All of that being said, this is a great introductory horror for easing newbies in. It also will become a Halloween time staple for many with its excellent fall vibes and ambience.
Cobweb is an original and unique piece of IP that is worth checking out. Packed full of camp, dread and family tension, it occupies a necessary space among the waves of summer blockbusters. Instead of sweating out the dog days of summer, go pretend like its Halloween time and sit down with Peter and his family for a nice fall evening. If you hear that tapping in the wall, I’m sure it’s just your imagination. Right?