In the tradition of many horror films, Samuel Bodin’s Cobweb begins with a young boy hearing a voice coming from his bedroom wall. Peter (Woody Norman) is a bullied kid at school with a substitute teacher (Cleopatra Coleman) who only wants to help, and the new knocking sounds only pile onto the problems that he’s been experiencing; it quickly becomes apparent that he’s in an abusive relationship with his odd parents (Lizzy Caplan and Anthony Starr), and the film attempts to force the viewer to question how much we can actually trust Peter’s perspective.
If Cobweb‘s plot sounds familiar, it certainly plays out in a generic fashion as well, with writer Chris Thomas Devlin’s script cribbing a number of ideas from previously charted territory. Here there’s a bit of The Black Phone, some of Andy Muschietti’s Mama, and a lot of 2022’s surprise hit Barbarian mixed in; and just as it sounds, there’s nothing that feels truly defining about Cobweb as its own entity. While the cast does a fairly good job in their respective roles, the family drama aspect becomes a bit played out through the runtime, and the movie never really comes to a good conclusion as to the real nature of the abuse.
There’s also the problem of expectation that Cobweb doesn’t do a good job addressing. For the most part, the film plays out exactly as a viewer might suspect; there are very little red herrings, and even less avenues for the film to surprise, and this makes for a relatively bland experience as Cobweb continues down its preordained path. The film’s biggest shocks actually occur when its nightmare sequences play out, but even these heavily borrow from supernatural films where the monsters have glowing eyes and jarring gait movements that would make an orthopedist flinch.
There’s nothing particularly bad about the movie, and it does offer a surprising amount of violence in its back half that helps to offset the rather slow buildup. But many viewers will find that there’s too much here they’ve seen before, and get the sense that the filmmakers were dusting their own cobwebs off well-trodden tropes.
Full uncompressed screenshots from this Blu-ray.
Lionsgate brings Cobweb to Blu-ray after a limited theatrical run and prior digital release. The Blu-ray does not mention any transfer details besides the 2.39:1 OAR, but whatever the case, the film looks great on Blu-ray by maxing out the potential of the format. Cobweb features a pretty dark color palette, often employing moody blacks, grays, and blues for the majority of its scenery; even the Halloween scenery is limited, with occasional pops of orange crepe paper or the flicker of jack-o-lanterns. The transfer does an excellent job managing these black levels with no apparent crush, and it doesn’t lose background details in the process – even in the deep blacks, things like Peter’s wallpaper background are still apparent. While a UHD release of Cobweb may have gone just a bit further by presenting these elements with HDR, this Blu-ray release still looks excellent with no real issues.
For audio, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround option is included in English, which accentuates some of the more atmospheric sound effects at play; while background noise isn’t used all that often, a few whooshing effects as the film’s monster flits around the characters make it to the satellite speakers, and the ominous soundtrack certainly envelopes. There’s a fair amount of bass as well. French and Spanish language options are also available in a Dolby Digital 5.1 format. English, English for the deaf and hard of hearing, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.
Extras are slim here, but the disc does include three different production featurettes that are loosely based around the mask of the monster, the character of Peter, and the suspense of silence in the movie. Overall, these don’t even add up to 10 minutes of additional features.
NEW Becoming “The Girl”(1080p; 3:32)
NEW Through the Eyes of a Child (1080p; 2:28)
NEW A Primal Fear (1080p; 2:21)
Cobweb is a rather unremarkable film that is mostly derivative but nevertheless entertaining. This Blu-ray from Lionsgate looks and sounds great, but if you’re looking for a wealth of extra features to justify the expense on a potentially middling movie, this doesn’t have it.
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