The Coffee Table/ SOHO Horror Film Festival: Spoiler-Free Review

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I did not know what to expect from The Coffee Table (original title: La mesita del comedor), as I surfed through the SOHO Horror Film Festival goodies. My friends told me that my habit of going into a movie with no information would work in my favor for this one. Now that I have seen it, I agree. I caution you all to forgo Googling it and just hit play when it becomes available. The dark comedy follows a couple who just had a baby as they purchase a table that will alter their lives. A horrific and unpredictable tale unfurls from this simple decision that will leave many viewers unsettled.

The Domino Effect

As a millennial, I have surprise anxiety about making simple choices all the time. I am just now buying furniture for an apartment I moved into in June (and plan to move out of in May). So, seeing this couple fight over whether they should buy this table and then watching the fallout resulting from this small choice was a whole ride. While my biggest fear is that I might not like an item once it is in my home, this couple unwittingly upended their world. Jesús (played by David Pareja) and Maria (played by Estefanía de los Santos) had no way of knowing this inanimate object would ruin so many lives. I am trying to dance around spoilers, but the idea that the tiniest decision could have unforeseen ripples that change the trajectory of our hopes, dreams, and futures is possibly the scariest part of this horror film. Again, I have difficulty committing to things, so this was a surprising pocket of stress. 

Writers Cristina Borobia and Caye Casas crafted a script that is unrelenting, dreadful, and deliciously comedic. This is one of the bleakest movies many of us have seen in years. Casas also directed the hell out of this thing. He expertly navigates when to bring us in so close that it feels too intimate and when to leave things to our imagination. It makes for an amazing exercise in macabre cinema. 

Don’t Table This For Later

As an audience member, I found this unpredictable and chaotic ride to be the darkest comedy of 2023. However, The Coffee Table is a masterclass in tension. When the first major incident happened, I had to rewind because I could not believe my eyes. After that, the movie feels like having a 90-ish minute anxiety attack broken up with random fits of laughter. This movie is a tightrope act that sticks the landing. It expertly balances the macabre, the humor, and the drama while continuing to steadily build tension. After watching the screener, I felt I should pay tuition for what was a crash course in storytelling.  

There’s no way to get into the specifics without ruining The Coffee Table. However, I highly recommend it and strongly urge you to go in knowing as little as possible. I haven’t seen many films like it in all my years parked in front of a TV. I audibly gasped, and I hope you all experience that same feeling of shock and awe. 

The Coffee Table will receive a limited theatrical release on April 19. It will then arrive on DVD and VOD on May 14.