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COBWEB

Written By:

Joel Harley
cobweb

by Joel Harley

At the intersection of Coraline and The Babadook sits Samuel Bodin’s adult fairytale, the story of a young boy (Peter, played by Woody Norman) who comes to suspect that something might be up with Mom and Dad after he hears a voice whispering to him in the dark.

Wildly imaginative and bullied at school, Peter’s misery is exacerbated when kindly teacher Miss Devine (Cleopatra Coleman) takes an interest in his well-being. Parents Carol and Mark (Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr) are not best pleased when the well-meaning educator shows up on their doorstep, spelling further trouble for the youth.

Bodin and screenwriter Chris Thomas Devlin (2022’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre) let the moody atmospherics do much of the talking, stranding their young star in a waking nightmare. There’s something clearly off about Mom and Dad from the start, with Starr apparently carrying on with the Homelander school of parenting here. Caplan also impresses, with good utilisation of the doe-eyed mania, which served her so well as Annie Wilkes in Castle Rock and Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction. No one is pushing themselves out of their comfort zone here (it’s just Homelander in a sweater), but it’s a thoroughly effective use of both stars and their specific brand of energy.

Bodin and Devlin do fine work in keeping the audience guessing throughout, leaving just enough lingering doubt that all this could be but a figment of Peter’s imagination. It doesn’t lay on its themes quite as thick as The Babadook, and it isn’t as obscure about it as Skinamarink, telling a relatively straightforward story with some canny twists and unsettling imagery.

All of this hews closer to creepy than it is truly scary, but that fits the dark fairy tale vibe the film aims for. This gamely, menacing cast, sympathetic young star and energetic final act all come together to ensure that audiences will be left hoping to see more from its fledgling director – a first feature to remember.

stars

Cobweb is released in the US on July 21st and will be in UK cinemas on September 1st. 

 

 

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