Dir. Caye Casas (2022)
A couple with a new baby decide to purchase a new coffee table, which alters their lives forever.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Whoever knew such an apparently inconsequential decision could have such an enormous impact on your life? In Caye Casas' new film The Coffee Table, married couple Jesus and Maria are feuding over a gaudy gold coffee table that Jesus has decided he must have. Jesus feels like he hasn't made any of the decisions in the relationship as of late, including the decision to have a child with the older Maria. He resents Maria's choice for the child's name most of all, Cayetanin, a name chosen in honor of Maria's grandfather and one shared by the sleazy salesman of the coffee table at the center of the couple's current dispute. He's a doting father despite his irritations with his partner, until...
The film is darkly humorous at times and pitch black otherwise, a movie that you can't imagine would be made in America. Alternating themes of pedophilia and denial spiral the story into an inescapable tailspin, with every bit of the plot ratcheting up into a final comedy of errors in the horrifying finale. The Coffee Table is reminiscent of Requiem For a Dream in that things just continue to get worse and worse, leaving the audience wondering exactly how all of the events throughout can coincide to give Jesus the worst day of his life. Suffice to say, I can't imagine that, had he lived a thousand lifetimes, he would ever have a day that tops this one in its tumultuous descent into madness.
I've held back a lot of details about what happens in the film, both because the distributors have asked that reviews don't give things away and also because this is a film where it's best to go in blind. It's fairly shocking, and Jesus' choices are almost instantly irreversible and the audience is left on the edge of their seat trying to predict exactly where things will head. The actors, especially David Pareja as Jesus, do a fantastic job of carrying the film, and Caye Casas and Cristina Borobia's script are a masterclass in ratcheting tension and suspense. This one is coming soon from Cinephobia Releasing, one of my favorite new boutique horror brands, and I highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance.
Who this movie is for: Horror fans with a dark sense of humor, Foreign horror lovers, Dinner party enthusiasts
Bottom line: The Coffee Table is a film that fills its audience with stress just as much as distress, a movie that leaves you wondering if it really went where it just went. Indeed it did, and if you're a fan of films like Fargo, where things are about as dark as possible until they get even worse, I definitely recommend giving this one a look. Cinephobia Releasing has done an excellent job of curating their collection of weird, quirky foreign horror flicks, and this one is a great addition to their repertoire.