On Digital

Cobweb  (15) Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Samuel Bodin, US/Bulgaria, 2023, 88 mins

Cast:  Woody Norman, Lizzy Caplan, Antony Starr, Luke Busey, Cleopatra Coleman

Review by Carol Allen

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Cobweb is that its central character is an eight year old child with distinctly creepy parents.   Which make it in many ways a story of child abuse, though abuse not just by humans but by eerie, scuttling horror film things too.  However Peter is played by very experienced, award winning actor Woody Norman, who is a very young looking fourteen, so that allays any fears of a real child being traumatised by the nasty goings on in the film.

Poor Peter does though have a very hard time.  His lives in one of those wooden clapboard houses beloved of horror films.   His sleep is disturbed nightly by knocking sounds on his bedroom wall, which his parents (Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr) assure him is just his “beautiful imagination”. 

Halloween, that American festival so beloved of horror films, is fast approaching.  Should be bonanza time for the parents, who have a huge crop of pumpkins in their back yard.  But Peter is not going to be allowed to go trick or treating because years ago, his parents tell him with a rather mysterious air, a little girl disappeared, when doing just that and was never found. 

To add to his troubles Peter is bullied at school by a nasty little piece of work called Brian (Luke Busey).  When Brian is pushed down a school stairway, Peter is blamed and his controlling dad locks him in the cobwebby old cellar, whose door is inexplicably hidden behind the kitchen fridge.  The plot thickens once Peter is released back to his bedroom, where he notices a hole in the skirting board through which an eye is watching him and a little girl’s voice is calling to him.  

Is she the lost presumed dead girl?  And is she actually his sister and the reason why his parents are so creepy?  Did they do away with her?   Are they going to do away with him?

Director Samuel Bodin and writer Chris Thomas Devlin play every trick in the horror film playbook, though interestingly the scariest scenes involve young Brian’s elder brothers, who turn up at Peter’s house to avenge their sibling, armed with baseball bats and wearing really nasty Halloween masks – masks which seem to affect their eyesight, as they fail to spot a couple of corpses in the kitchen. 

Young Woody Norman acquits himself well.  He deserves to have a great career ahead of him and I’m relieved he is old enough not to be traumatised by the film.  I somehow doubt that anyone will be though. 

COBWEB Release Details

Digital Release Date: 
23rd October 2023

Available Platforms: Amazon; Sky; iTunes; Google; BT; Virgin; Microsoft; Rakuten; and Kaleidescape

Blu-ray and DVD Release Date: 30rd October 2023
Run Time: 
88 mins approx.
Cert: 15

COBWEB Special Features

  • Becoming “The Girl”
  • Through The Eyes of a Child
  • A Primal Fear