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The Cottage – 7

Director – Paul Andrew Williams

Cast – Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Jennifer Ellison, Steven O’Donnell, Danny Nussbaum, Logan Wong

Release Year – 2008

Reviewed by John of the Dead

As fun as they are I tend to stray away from horror/comedies due to them normally not providing as much horror as I’d like. Every now and then I get an itch for the blend of two of my favorite genres, and that this time that itch brought me to The Cottage – a fun UK gem worth more than the light attention it has received. Coming with the usual witty and dry British humor, The Cottage also brings us good horror and fun antics that made for a pretty enjoyable experience in the end.

After fumbling the kidnapping of a crime boss’ daughter, brothers David and Peter find themselves with even more deadly problems when they learn of a dark rural secret plaguing the countryside.

One element I do not see too often in the horror genre is the usage of crime, specifically a heist. I saw this employed wonderfully in Botched, and a year later The Cottage also used it to positive advantage. The genius of it is that the characters, first deemed antagonists due to their ways, soon find themselves in trouble they never could have planned for, which then turns them from “bad guy” antagonists to the only “good guys” we have to root for. Writer Paul Andrew Williams did a great job giving us fun characters, from the bumbling brothers David and Peter to the bratty girl they kidnapped, Tracey, the brothers’ sidekick Andrew, and of course…the killer himself. Each of these characters involved provided well for the story as none of them were useless, however we did get a few thrown into the mix that could have been done away with. Things start off as they should,with the two brothers executing their demands for the kidnapping (which took place before the film started) and while fun things stay safe for a while until the horror finally kicks in towards the halfway point of the film. What I really saw as a brilliant idea was the location change involved with the discovery of the dark secret held within the countryside, which not only brought a fresh change of pace but added to the mayhem and the ever-worsening day for those involved in the kidnapping. As the film progresses you know that something is definitely wrong with the area the brothers are in, brought on mostly by the odd townsfolk, and while I knew to expect something antagonistic I had no clue that we would be given a maniacal killer with a large stature and hideous face. He managed to provide many zany and gory kills, which resulted in a fun climax and lots of great character play (deaths) that show Williams has a knack for drama in his horror.

Williams manages to replicate his positive writing with great direction, giving us awesome sets and good atmosphere in a film that takes place entirely at night – and we all know nothing good happens at night when you’re out in a rural area. His execution of the characters was great, giving us surprisingly believable (given their antics) performances and in very fun fashion. The actors involved were great, as was the killer who brought his own level of fun as well as terror. At first glance the killer is menacing and epic in his looks and mannerisms, but right away Williams pokes fun at that by making it inherently obvious that the guy’s disfigured face is obviously a mask, and in pretty hilarious fashion. The kills were fun to watch and contained enough gore to please horror buffs and gore hounds alike, although I did wish we had more characters to result in more kills, but that more of a story-related issue.

So how is the comedy in this horror/comedy? I enjoyed it. As expected it is a bit dry and simple, but it is always classy despite some ridiculous scenes here and there. Also, the fact that the horror played well into the comedy (especially via the kill sequences) made for comedy that I can definitely appreciate.

Overall, The Cottage is a fun UK horror/comedy that gives us a fun tale following several bumbling characters whose bad day only gets worse and worse. The horror is good and the comedy compliments it with sweet kills and fun execution, making for a recommended flick if you are looking for a nice mix of horror and comedy.

Rating: 7/10

  1. November 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    My favourite (mini-)genre: crime/comedy/horror, only Botched and Cottage are (IMHO) in this genre. To me a very subjective 8, but the first half hour is a bit slow (and unfunny and unfory) I grant you this, bgut the last 40 minutes are superfunkyfantasticalistically supreme (as George Clinton would put it).
    Botched was a surprise to me, also totally recommended.
    Once again the FunkTrunk and JOTD are more o less d’accord!
    Gore on, my friend, best greetz, T.

    • November 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      Yes I absolutely loved Botched, and in fact Botched writer Raymond Friel contacted me saying thanks for my positive review for the film, a touching moment indeed. Heh. Glad you read my stuff and seem to agree with most of what I say, I definitely look forward to your input as well.

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