The Coffee Table Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by Cinephobia Releasing

the coffee table poster large

Directed by Caye Casas
Written by Cristina Borobia and Caye Casas
2022, 91 minutes, Not Rated
Released on May 14th, 2024

David Pareja as Jesús
Estefanía de los Santos as Maria
Josep Maria Riera as Carlos
Claudia Riera as Cristina
Gala Flores as Vecina hija

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I was warned. Dammit, I was warned. Not only was I warned, I was warned by a highly trusted fellow scribe who said, “Well, The Coffee Table was the wrong choice of screener to put on while feeling emotionally sensitive”. I mean, that’s a hell of a warning, am I right?

I really should have listened.

Here’s the thing, though: I utterly adore dark humor and black comedy. Black comedy and pure horror are kissing cousins, after all. The best of them blur the line between the two genres. They both take the taboo and the horrific and inject them full of amusing un-comfortability and vicious vitality. My brain responds to that twisted version of dopamine in some backward way I can neither explain nor justify (not that I’d try).

I repeat: I really should have listened.

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The Coffee Table is the story of Maria and Jesús, new parents trying to find themselves again as a couple following the birth of their new son, Cayetano. Maria is domineering, and Jesús is tired of it. Nothing in his life has been chosen by him (not even his own son’s name). When they come across a rather ugly coffee table being pedaled by a huckster of a salesman, Jesús decides this is the time to put his foot down. He buys the god-awful piece of furniture and brings it home to assemble. Maria leaves him with the baby so she can do some shopping and cool off after their nasty argument. Simple enough, right? Well, while she’s gone something terrible happens involving the coffee table, and…

Shit. I simply can’t give that away. It’s the linchpin of the story.

Suffice it to say, it’s one of the more awful things you’re likely to witness on film any time soon. Jesús is dumbstruck and goes into cover-up mode before Maria gets home. What follows is a real-time nightmare of paranoia, guilt, and unintentional comedy that must be seen to be believed.

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The Coffee Table is a legitimately tough watch. The fact it’s because of its effectiveness is cold comfort, both praise and damnation in equal measure. Watching this dude crack bit by bit is teeth-gnashingly awful, and you find yourself wanting to yell at the screen or just turn it off. But you can’t. You just can’t. It’s too engrossing for mere dismissal, and you have to see this one through to the end. The drawing out of the discovery is hideous; the reveal is even more grotesque. Are you laughing? Are you screaming? It’s hard to tell.

Cinematically, it’s up close and personal, making you want to squirm. The claustrophobic, sweaty, anxiety-ridden camera work makes you feel that you are Jesús…and that is not somewhere you want to be! Everyone plays their role with a keen eye for what makes all the players terrible people in their own ways. No one is portrayed in a positive light. The B-story with the neighbor’s daughter only adds to the sense of wrongness that permeates The Coffee Table. There’s so much ugliness on display that it can’t feel anything but real, as atrocious things like this happen from time to time and people truly can be this careless and selfish.

The Coffee Table is exactly as advertised – the kind of film you don’t want to watch if you are feeling emotionally sensitive. It’s also not a film I’d recommend for new parents, regardless of how strong your love of black comedy is. Hell, my daughter is a sophomore in college, and I was still shaken by the effectiveness of what happened while being equally horrified at Jesús’ response to it all. In short, The Coffee Table is a living, breathing, criminally effective trigger you’ve now been warned about.

So, it’s with a malicious grin that I tell you to go ahead and give it a shot. I dare you.

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Movie: 5 Star Rating Cover

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Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Reviewer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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