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[REVIEW] ‘Cobweb’ Is a Moody, Unhinged Haunter With Concussive Broadsides



With horror movies, there hasn’t been something done that hasn’t been done before, and the movie Cobweb knows that is the case, and leans into it with masterful intent.

That is not to say this is a perfect movie by any means, in fact, it has some pretty big plot holes, but that doesn’t take away from any of its momentum, and if this film has anything it has momentum.

If you watched the Netflix horror movie Marianne back in 2019, you will instantly recognize director Samuel Bodin’s penchant for shooting things shaded in the penumbra. He is gifted at showing his audience just enough to get them curious even if the reveal leads to more questions than answers.

In Cobweb there are a lot of things left unanswered, but that is the fun of the film. There is a broadsiding twist about halfway through that doesn’t resolve anything, it only gasses up for the crazy ride that soon follows. There is no time to contemplate logic.

The movie stars Andy Norman as Peter, our eight-year-old hero who lives with his creepy mom and dad in an even creepier house doused by unnatural natural lightning. It is that type of lighting that James Wan is known for, where everything is shaded in gray until whatever menace is exorcised. Then suddenly the sun comes out and the environment is alit with serenity.

Cobweb is a collection of past works. Take a dart board with the names of modern horror directors and throw a flechette at it. Chances are whatever name you stab is someone that Cobweb borrowed from. Even young Peter resembles Danny Llyod from The Shining both in look and circumstance. But he is great here. One wonders how parents would allow such a young child to be put through the horrors he faces throughout the film.

Cobweb has often been compared to Barbarian and that might be a fair assessment. Just like in that film you really never know what is going to happen next, there is no forecast linear path to foresee. It is like a carnival funhouse that twists and turns in the dark, some of the scares make you jump out of your seat while others are broken.

Andy Norman as Peter in Cobweb

Both Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr who play Peter’s mom and dad respectively are so quietly menacing it’s a thrill to watch them figuratively wring their hands with diabolical aplomb. Unfortunately, Starr has done so well as his evil character Homelander in The Boys that even changing his hair color can’t erase that evil grin and therefore fans of the show might get pulled out of the story for a second.

Lizzy Caplan, Andy Norman and Antony Starr in Cobweb

Cleopatra Coleman plays Peter’s teacher, Miss Devine. As her name implies she’s the pure-hearted deuteragonist who tries to figure out what is going on at Peter’s home after he commits an act of violence at school. Coleman doesn’t really have an arc of her own. She mostly sticks her nose where it doesn’t belong, in the kindest of ways, of course. Although she doesn’t have much to do, Coleman still does a great job as the worried interloper.

Andy Norman as Peter in Cobweb

The movie itself is a twisted ride. There is nothing linear about the plot and if you haven’t read any spoilers nothing can prepare you for all the twists and turns. You might be saying, “Well, the poster gives it away,” and you would be half right. The list of producers behind this movie might give you a little insight as to its style: Roy Lee (Barbarian)Andrew Childs (Salem’s Lot), Evan Goldberg (“Preacher”), Seth Rogen (“The Boys”), James Weaver (Joy Ride) and Josh Fagen (Good Boys).

Cobweb is a wonderfully crazy horror movie. It borrows a lot of things from other films, but it does so in a masterful way. You should treat it like a rollercoaster; get in your seat, lean back against the headrest, and grip your lap bars because you’re in for an exhilarating ride that just might go off the rails.

Cobweb is now exclusively in theaters.

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Movie Reviews

[Fantastic Fest] ‘Infested’ is Guaranteed to Make Audiences Squirm, Jump and Scream




It has been a while since spiders were effective in making folks lose their minds with fear in theaters. The last time I recall it being lose your mind suspenseful was with Arachnophobia. The latest from director, Sébastien Vaniček creates the same event cinema that Arachnophobia did when it was originally released.

Infested begins with a few individuals out in the middle of desert looking for exotic spiders under rocks. Once located, the spider is taken in a container to be sold to collectors.

Flash to Kaleb an individual absolutely obsessed with exotic pets. In fact, he has an illegal mini collection of them in his flat. Of course, Kaleb makes the desert spider a nice little home in a shoe box complete with cozy bits for the spider to relax. To his astonishment, the spider manages to escape from the box. It doesn’t take long to discover that this spider is deadly and it reproduces at alarming rates. Soon, the building is completely packed with them.


You know those little moments we all have had with unwelcome insects that come into our home. You know those instants right before we hit them with a broom or before we put a glass over them. Those little moments in which they suddenly launch at us or decide to run at the speed of light are what Infested does flawlessly. There are plenty of moments in which someone attempts to kill them with a broom, only to be shocked that the spider runs right up their arm and onto their face or neck. shudders

The residents of the building are also quarantined by the police who initially believe that there is a viral outbreak in the building. So, these unfortunate residents are stuck inside with tons of spiders moving freely in vents, corners and anywhere else you can think of. There are scenes in which you can see someone in the restroom washing their face/hands and also happen to see a whole lot of spiders crawling out of the vent behind them. The film is filled with plenty of big chilling moments like that which don’t let up.

The ensemble of characters is all brilliant. Each of them perfectly draws from the drama, comedy, and terror and makes that work in every beat of the film.

The film also plays on current tensions in the world between police states and people who attempt to speak out when in need of real help. The rock and a hard place architecture of the film is a perfect contrast.

In fact, once Kaleb and his neighbors decide they are locked inside, the chills and body count begin to rise as the spiders begin to grow and reproduce.

Infested is Arachnophobia meets a Safdie Brothers film such as Uncut Diamonds. Add the Safdie Brothers intense moments filled with characters talking over each other and shouting in fast-talking, anxiety-inducing conversations to a chilling environment filled with deadly spiders crawling all over people and you have Infested.

Infested is unnerving and seethes with second-to-second nail-biting terrors. This is the scariest time you are likely to have in a movie theater for a long time. If you didn’t have arachnophobia before watching Infested, you will after.

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Movie Reviews

[Fantastic Fest] ‘What You Wish For’ Offers Up A Wicked Dish




I’m a huge fan of these decadent flavors of film. What You Wish For gives us exactly what we wish for by unleashing a razor-sharp film that is all about the rich and how much they can get away with and what insane things may transpire when they get bored. The result is something that is both disturbing and entirely crowd-pleasing.

What You Wish For stars Nick Stahl as Ryan a Chef who is invited by his friend Jack to spend some time in a beautiful, secluded rainforest home. Jack explains that his gig in life has become traveling to beautiful locations and preparing special dinners for collections of powerful rich people.

Once Ryan is brought into the same life as Jack, he quickly discovers that you better be careful what you wish for, and cooking for this collection of people isn’t what he expected… especially when it comes to what is on the menu. All of this sets up for a final act that is an edge-of-your-seat ride filled with just as many laughs as there is propulsive suspense.

What You Wish For

Much like Hitchcock’s Rope, What You Wish For introduces the dangers by placing them in plain sight and then commences to have the characters move about them unaware. Of course, the audience knows of the hidden horrors making for a lean thrill ride.

It’s great to see Nick Stahl back on the big screen too. Stahl had a huge career in his youth. I’m much more interested in this phase of his career. Stahl perfectly embodies this character and is one of those dudes that you root for the entire time.

Nicholas Tomnay directs the absolute heck out of this film. Everything is precise and comes packed lean with all the fat cut off. Moving these characters around and creating the boiling pot for them to squirm and play in is absolutely a brilliant watch.

What You Wish For is a wicked, provocative thriller that is a cross-pollination of Hitchcock and Tales From the Crypt. Tomnay serves up a lean, mean dish that is impossible to pull away from. From start to finish it is a feast of vicious fun.

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Movie Reviews

[Fantastic Fest] ‘Wake Up’ Turns a Home Furnishing Store into a Gory, Gen Z Activist Hunting Ground




You don’t usually think of certain Swedish home décor places to be ground zero for horror films. But, the latest from Turbo Kid directors, 1,2,3 return to once again embody the 1980s and the films we loved from the era. Wake Up places us in a cross-pollination of brutal slashers and big action set-piece films.

Wake Up is king at bringing on the unexpected and serving it up with a nice range of brutal and creative kills. For the most part, the entirety of the film is spent inside of a home décor establishment. One night a gang of GenZ activists decide to hide in the building past closing in order to vandalize the place to prove their cause of the week. Little do they know one of the security guards is like Jason Voorhees with Rambo like knowledge of handmade weapons and traps. It doesn’t take long for things to begin to get out of hand.

Once things take off Wake Up doesn’t let up for a second. It is filled with pulse-pounding thrills and plenty of inventive and gory kills. All of this takes place as these young folks are trying to get the hell out of the store alive, all while the unhinged security guard Kevin has filled the store with a ton of traps.

One scene, in particular, takes the horror cake award for being very gnarly and very cool. It takes place when the group of kids stumbles into a trap of Kevin’s. The kiddos are doused with a bunch of fluid. So, my horror encyclopedia of a brain thinks, it might be gas and that Kevin is going to have a Gen Z BBQ. But, Wake Up manages to surprise once again. It is revealed when the lights are all cut off and the kids are standing around in pitch black that you reveal the liquid was glow-in-the-dark paint. This lights Kevin’s prey up for him to see as he moves in the shadows. The effect is very cool looking and was done 100 percent practically by the awesome filmmaking team.

The team of directors behind Turbo Kid are also responsible for another trip back to 80s slashers with Wake Up. The awesome team consists of Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. All of whom exist firmly in the world of 80s horror and action films. A team that film fans can place their faith in. Because once again, Wake Up is a complete blast from classic slasher past.

Horror movies are consistently better when they end on down notes. For whatever reason watching the good guy win and save the day in a horror film isn’t a good look. Now, when the good guys die or can’t save the day or end up without legs or some such thing, it becomes a lot better and more memorable of a film. I don’t want to give anything away but during the Q and A at Fantastic Fest the very rad and energetic Yoann-Karl Whissell hit everyone in the audience with the very real fact that everyone, everywhere will die eventually. That is exactly the mindset you want on a horror film and the team makes sure to keep things fun and full of death.

Wake Up presents us with GenZ ideals and sets them loose against an unstoppable First Blood like force of nature. Watching Kevin use handmade traps and weapons to take down activists is a guilty pleasure and a hell of a lot of fun. Inventive kills, gore, and the bloodthirsty Kevin make this film an all-out explosive good time. Oh, and we guarantee that the final moments in this film will put your jaw on the floor.

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