Writer: Paul Andrew Williams
Starring: Reece Shearsmith, Andy Serkis, Jennifer Ellison
With the comedy talents of Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen) and the massively underused and underappreciated Andy Serkis (Gollum/King Kong) the Cottage has a very capable cast. Further wetting the appetite is the presence of Paul Andrew Williams at the helm directing his follow up to the incredible London to Brighton – enough to give this film a lot of promise. Unfortunately this small scale British slasher-comedy movie doesn’t quite work as well as it could have.
Two brothers hold up in a rural cottage, dragging with them a big busted and aggressive blonde gagged and tied. As they try to carry out a basic ransom negotiation it becomes clear that these bumbling chancers are not quite up to the job and things quickly fall apart into a farcical disaster. Despite this familiar Cockney gangster set up things change track about half way through as events develop into a Texas Chainsaw Massacre style slasher. The violence is impressively gory with special effects that give convincing sense of realism despite playing for laughs with over the top kills. There is a certain fear factor which offers a few jumps but with this is largely undermined by the comedy. The two elements have worked well together before but the balance just isn’t right here. It is quite frustrating because there are enough nods to the genre to suggest that this could have been a decent chiller if played straight and with a bit more emphasis on the horror.
The first half is entertaining enough with a few chuckles, though nothing particularly to special. The Cottage’s major weakness is its comedy which never quite hits the right notes. There is the usual general mirth to be had watching irritating characters being chased and torn apart, and Shearsmith brings as much as he can with his undoubted dark comedy credentials. But the ironic jibes aimed at horror cliches have been done many times before and add nothing here. There simply are not enough big laughs and the subtle humour goes missing.
Not a bad one off watch but something which will be instantly forgotten.