The Cottage


Reviewed by: Susanna Krawczyk

The Cottage
"Taken as a straightforward comic horror movie, this feels too derivative and clichéd. Taken as homage or pastiche, it's not nearly funny, knowing or camp enough." | Photo: Park Circus

The more I watch horror movies, the more I see the same tired plots and characters, the same overused tricks and gags used again and again, usually coupled with an unpleasant side helping of misogyny. As you can no doubt already guess, this movie fits that mould perfectly.

The plot is this: inept brothers David (Andy Serkis) and Peter (Reece Shearsmith) kidnap a gangster’s daughter (Jennifer Ellison) in order to extort money from her father. They take her to a remote cottage in the woods, near a village full of “strangers don’t do well around these parts” type villagers. Stuff goes wrong. An attempt is made to pay homage to the sort of Seventies horror films that had a deformed man-beast hacking left and right and keeping human heads as trophies in the barn. At the same time the script tries to sound a bit like Shaun Of The Dead and Andy Serkis swears a lot.

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It all seems quite promising at first – the sibling-rivalry chemistry between Serkis and Shearsmith is believable and pretty amusing. As a taste of things to come, a running “joke” about how hen-pecked Peter is falls exceptionally flat, since the extent of this hen-pecking seems to be that his wife is fat and he worries that she’ll be upset at his mysterious disappearance.

Apart from that, the first 10 minutes or so had me hoping for more than was ultimately delivered. Hey ho, so much for the non-horror-fan. I will admit that there was some amusingly inventive violence, if not a terribly inventive script, or plot, for that matter - although I suspect the argument would be put forth that, being largely a pastiche/homage-type-film, this is a less pressing concern. It might be more convincing if it actually felt like one thing or the other. Taken as a straightforward comic horror movie, it feels too derivative and clichéd. Taken as homage or pastiche, it's not nearly funny, knowing or camp enough.

Anyway, it's quite funny, and a fan of this sort of film would no doubt find it more so. It isn’t entirely successful in what it tries to do, but it certainly makes a go of it.

Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2008
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When wannabe big-time crooks kidnap a gangster's daughter and hole up in a remote cottage, they find there are scarier people out there than the mob.
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Chris **

Director: Paul Andrew Williams

Writer: Paul Andrew Williams

Starring: Dave Legeno, Andy Serkis, Jennifer Ellison, Doug Bradley, Georgia Groome, Reece Shearsmith, Steve O'Donnell, Johnny Harris

Year: 2008

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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