Two Halloween horrors for the 2023 season

I liked one better than the other, but they both got me itching for October and earn spots on the complete holiday horror page.

COBWEB (2023)

This Halloween season movie is like Lady in White, Parents, The Ring, and Barbarian all rolled into one.

Always awesome Lizzy Caplan (who portrayed Annie Wilkes in Castle Rock) and hunky Homelander from The Boys play an odd couple that seems to know more than they’re letting on when their young son starts hearing sounds in his bedroom wall.

Bullied in school, the son befriends his new teacher, a young woman who becomes concerned that he is experiencing some sort of abuse at home.

Loaded with holiday spirit and a few notable nods to the original Halloween (whether intended or not), this suspenseful fright fest takes us for a thrill ride thanks to intense performances and fantastic camerawork that establishes an eerie tone.

Best of all, the plot seems to go off in new directions several times (which does leave some unanswered questions in the end), leading up to a Halloween night house of horrors as the young boy finally finds out what is behind the walls. Eek!

This will be an insta-buy for me when it hits Blu-ray.


Apparently this movie is based on an urban legend that was born on the internet—a pretty good urban legend. The movie tries its best to draw that tale into a Halloween slasher, but it only really picks up steam in the final 20 minutes.

The original tale is about a photo that shows a bunch of kids gathered together for a Halloween party photo in 1962 while wearing their masks. It seems a dude in a black mask made it into the photo, but no one knew who he was. But he got their attention fast when he somehow locked the doors and windows from the outside and began slaughtering everyone in the house.

The first issue you’ll have to get past is that this is supposed to take place in the 1960s yet totally feels like actors from contemporary times. Not the biggest deal since the whole movie takes place in one location, which means not much effort is needed to mask the time period.

Next, a group of friends drives to a house in the middle of nowhere for a party, and everyone is wearing masks for the whole ride. This is the part that annoyed me the most, because no one would sit for a whole car ride with their mask on. It makes it feel like these kids are about to go all The Strangers on their party.

In order to create some intrigue early on, there are some mentions by characters of seeing someone in the woods, and we even get to see someone watching the house. Unfortunately, it’s not enticing enough to fill the void of horror action for the first hour. The movie is loaded with dialogue, and uninteresting dialogue at that. Considering this is a movie based on a fictional internet urban legend, they could easily have spaced out some kills instead of focusing predominantly on an instant massacre moment near the end, which is mostly what was done here.

I really did like the atmosphere created in the house though. Old school horror lighting and claustrophobic shots definitely set a tone.

In order to break up some of the monotony, there are a few random kills before the final act. Then the killer slips into the party, and we get those moments of suspense when no one knows who is under the mask, but they just go with it and welcome the “guest”.

The rapid fire succession of kills is satisfying, but then we are subjected to a bunch of conversation between FBI agents that show up at the house the next morning, drawing out the conclusion of the film.

I do give the movie credit for doing what it could with the limited source material. I didn’t actually hate it, and I’m glad I saw it because it exposed me to a creepy urban legend I’d never heard before.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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