Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Screenplay: Paul Andrew Williams
Producers: Ken Marshall & Martin Pope
Starring: Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Jennifer Ellison, Steven O’Donnell & Dave Legano
Year: 2008
Country: UK
Duration: 92 mins

A botched kidnapping leaves the perpetrators and victim fighting for their lives in the remote countryside, as they wander past the ‘no trespassing’ signs of a reclusive farmer. The tagline for The Cottage is: ‘Sleeps Six Bloody Comfortably’ and it eventually lives up to the billing.

Half-an-hour into From Dusk Till Dawn I was convinced it was supposed to be a Vampire flick but it had all the hallmarks of being a standard Tarantino gangster film with no sign of Vamps, likewise half way through The Cottage I was wondering where the ‘horror’ element in this ‘Horror/Comedy’ was. The one saving grace in this was that the ‘comedy’ side of it was really top-notch and I would’ve happily sat through more of it.

The chemistry between on-screen brothers Andy Serkis (David) and Reece Shearsmith (Peter) was so good that it suggested they might have worked together for years in stand-up. If acting work dries up for them then a career as the new Morecambe and Wise beckons. They were more than ably backed up by Jennifer Ellison (Tracey) as the not-so-vulnerable kidnap victim (boy, does she have a potty mouth) and Steven O’Donnell (Andrew) as her hapless step-brother and co-kidnapper. The part when he puts on his mask and realises that he bought a balaclava was genius as was the depiction of Peter's moth phobia.

Then there’s a big shift into the realm of horror when Tracey escapes – dragging Peter in tow – and stumbles into Dave Legano’s farmhouse. David and Andrew eventually follow and there then follows a series of nasty mutilations, spring-loaded bear-traps, very sharp spades and a machete. There are nods to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Predator, which all add to the whole and make it even better.

And for once in a film of this genre the ending is not as typical as you might expect ...

Review by Andy Goodman

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5 Responses

  1. Brian

    I saw the cottage a couple years ago now and absolutely loved it. I am an American so I only recognized a couple of people in it but I actually really enjoyed Jennifer Ellison in this, which surprised me because it had the potential to be such an annoying role. I also loved the interactions between the kidnappers and then was genuinely touched towards the end with the brothers dealing with one another. I was impressed because this was unlike most other slasher movies and was fantastic.

    I think I totally missed the predator nods though, I am pretty unobservant at times.

    Reply
  2. David Brook

    I can remember seeing posters and write-ups for this when it came out and just sort of dismissing it, but after watching Paul Andrew Williams’ Cherry Tree Lane recently I really want to catch up on his earlier work. You should see that if you haven’t already, it’s very simple and sparse and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it brutally tense. There’s a review up on here somewhere.

    Reply
  3. Andrew Goodman

    Brian – the Predator nod is when the Farmer ‘claims’ the spine and head of a victim and brandishes them as does the Predator.

    Reply

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