THE COFFEE TABLE is a Spanish movie (org. title: La mesita del comedor) labeled as a dark comedy, but it turns into pure horror. The story plays out with a small cast but hits extremely hard. Currently screening at Fantastic Fest 2023. Read our full The Coffee Table movie review here!
THE COFFEE TABLE is a Spanish genre movie (org. title: La mesita del comedor) currently screening at Fantastic Fest 2023. It is definitely worth checking out. However, please note that this is a movie you won’t want to watch if you’re pregnant or have a baby. Trust me!
The plot of this Spanish movie is part mystery, but not so much to its audience. It’s more of a mystery to most of the characters, while we’re all “in on it” along with the husband. He is challenged in many different ways, and none of them are fair really. Sure, he may be a bit of a deadbeat in some ways, but he is also just a good and kind guy. One that is unbelievably unfortunate!
Continue reading our The Coffee Table movie review below.
Sometimes a win isn’t really a win
In The Coffee Table, it’s obvious right off the bat, that María is the one calling the shots in the relationship. She has the final say in everything from the color scheme of their new apartment to the details of the wedding. That’s just the way it is and Jesús can live with most of it. In fact, he doesn’t really mind that she takes charge.
However, now Jesús (David Pareja) has found a coffee table that has made him take a stand. He wants this particular coffee table and is not ready to back down.
María (Estefanía de los Santos) isn’t exactly thrilled because this table is the world’s tackiest coffee table. It has a pane of glass – unbreakable, according to the salesman – and the glass is held by two gold, naked ladies. Yeah, it’s about as tacky as it can get, but the sleazy salesman (Eduardo Antuña) knows how to work Jesús.
Finally, María gives in, but Jesús realizes quite quickly that maybe this isn’t the biggest win for him.
From IKEA jokes to horror drama
Even getting the table home is a struggle, because it’s extremely heavy and comes with a very IKEA-inspired pamphlet telling you how to assemble it. In fact, even the name is very IKEA. The table is called “Rörret” and Jesús is very impressed with his victory in getting the table. A table that will “change your life” according to the salesman.
While María goes grocery shopping for dinner with her brother-in-law, Carlos (Josep Riera), and his new 18-year-old girlfriend, Cristina (Claudia Riera), Jesús is left home alone with their baby for the first time. Then everything goes horribly wrong and Jesús goes into shock while trying to keep up appearances for everyone around home.
All while constantly being bothered by his 12-year-old neighbor who will not leave him alone. That particular element is a whole dark comedy mixed with horror drama in itself.
The dark twist in the tale
As with many other genre movies, this one is labeled as a “dark comedy”. And it is, at times. Very much so, actually. The whole coffee table scene at the beginning is definitely comedy gold.
However, please believe me when I say that the core plot is pure dread and horror. I can’t reveal too much here as it would be a huge spoiler, but the title “character” definitely does become a key player in how things escalate in a very unexpected way.
The unlucky couple ends up in a type of domestic drama that you would never expect. The story shifts from very dark comedy to horror, sometimes a bit back again, but ultimately, the horror will win with this one. How could it not?!
As stated in the press material, The Coffee Table is not for the faint of heart. Please believe those words. This is realistic horror on multiple levels and you will be caught up in the dire predicaments of Jesus in ways you never expected. I certainly didn’t.
Watch The Coffee Table… if you think you can handle it!
Caye Casas is the director of The Coffee Table (org. Spanish title: La mesita del comedor) and is also co-screenwriter with Cristina Borobia. The Coffee Table is the first feature film solo director credit for Caye Casas. The feature film Mater a Dios (2017) was co-directed by Albert Pintó.
The cast of Mater a Dios and this new feature does have many of the same actors. Which is a very good thing because the cast works extremely well.
This is the first writing credit for Cristina Borobia, but she has worked with Caye Casas before as an Art Director and Production Designer on the short film RIP (2017). That short film was also co-directed by Albert Pintó, and the short was part of the 2020 Asylum: Twisted Horror and Fantasy Tales anthology.
For this movie to have worked even better, it should have been shorter. But that takes nothing away from its other qualities.
Whatever you expect from The Coffee Table, just be ready for some very dark twists and turns. Sure, you’ll be laughing one second at the absurdly dark comedy – which also works really well. However, the next moment something might happen that will leave you breathless. How it will all end is impossible to tell, but you know it cannot be good.
The Coffee Table is screening at Fantastic Fest 2023. We’ll be sure to update this review with wider release information as soon as we know more.
Director: Caye Casas
Writers: Cristina Borobia, Caye Casas
Cast: David Pareja, Estefanía de los Santos, Claudia Riera, Josep Riera, Itziar Castro
Sometimes a gaudy coffee table is just a coffee table, and sometimes it’s the catalyst for a nightmarish descent into ruination.