Today: February 29, 2024

Cobweb

Five years after appearing on the Black List – the annual survey of the “most-liked” screenplays not yet produced – Chris Thomas Devlin’s harrowing tale Cobweb is brought to life by filmmaker Samuel Bodin in his directorial debut.

Peter (Woody Norman) is a shy, bullied child living with his overbearing and cold, emotionally distant parents (Lizzy Caplan, Antony Starr). When he begins hearing a mysterious knocking seemingly coming from within his bedroom wall, his parents dismiss it as being a product of his “overactive imagination” – but when he starts hearing a voice from behind the wall too, he begins to suspect his parents are hiding something horrifying. 

Antony Starr (The Boys) and Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield) put in career-best performances; every scene with them is uncomfortably intense and heart-racing. One scene in particular when Peter’s concerned substitute teacher (Cleopatra Coleman) visits the family home, I was so on the edge of my seat that I forgot to even breathe. Rising star Woody Norman, BAFTA-nominated for his performance in C’mon C’mon opposite Joaquin Phoenix, continues to shine brightly here; he is one of the best child actors working today and Cobweb rests entirely on his shoulders. 

Cobweb is visually stunning – Philip Lozano‘s cinematography creates some truly haunting imagery, making wonderful use of darkness and shadows. The film feels wonderfully old-fashioned in its visuals, with a clear reverence for classics of its genre. John Carpenter’s Halloween is clearly a big influence, while there are some spooky moments of shadowed silhouettes that hark back to Nosferatu’s climbing of the staircase. Special mention should also go to the phenomenal score by Drum & Lace, who add to this traditional feeling whilst carving out a unique and distinctive soundscape that gets under your skin. 

Cobweb is a magnificent little indie horror, and a remarkably assured directorial debut for Samuel Bodin

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