The cast of “The Coffee Table” is fantastic. Casas reunites with most of his cast from “Killing God,” including Itziar Castro, Eduardo Antuña, Emilio Gavira and David Pareja himself, who is the highlight of the film. Pareja does a great job of portraying the absolute worst day a human being could have, in carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, while also trying to hide it all — poorly.
Though not strictly a horror movie, Casas knows how to frame the picture to create horrific tension, using a brutalist yet heightened approach to cinematography, the saturated colors making the horror and trauma feel hyperreal. The horror and the comedy of “The Coffee Table” primarily lies in how far we go to avoid conflict and to hide our mistakes. The longer the film goes, the funnier it becomes. Like with “Killing God,” Casas brings an absurdist family dramedy element to the script and knows how to mine humor from dysfunctional relationships. Seeing all these people act out petty grievances while a huge, sicko Hitchcockian time bomb of a reveal waits to be unleashed is hugely entertaining but also nail-bitingly tense.
“The Coffee Table” is one of the most unique experiences you can have in a movie, a torturous dark comedy with a fantastic ensemble, a great eye for visuals that maximize the emotional gut punch, and a script that ties you down to a chair as you go through the nine circles of hell, laughing like a maniac along the way. It is an unforgettable movie that is definitely not for everyone and will make many people super angry, but it is not a movie you will forget anytime soon.
/Film rating: 10 out of 10 shards of glass.