The Cottage was a bit of revelation when it first appeared in 2008. Not just a British horror comedy but one that starred the legitimately funny Reece Shearsmith (Inside No.9, The League of Gentlemen) & the great Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes).
The duo play the brothers David (Serkis) & Peter (Shearsmith) who have kidnapped Tracey (Jennifer Ellison). She is the daughter of Arnie (Steven Beroff) who is a big crime boss. Their plan is to blackmail him by using her as leverage.
This is all the plan of David, who has managed to get his meeker & obnoxious brother to help. Simply by promising him his half of the house left to them by their mother when she died.
Peter really doesn’t want to be doing this. However, his desperation to please his wife by owning the house gets him to go along with the plan. The duo take Tracey to a secluded country cottage where her foul mouth & willingness to fight back makes the whole situation worse.
For more then half of this movies runtime you wouldn’t believe you’re actually watching a horror. It’s more of a comedy kidnapping drama but then out of nowhere it takes an extremely dark turn.
After the plan begins to fall apart, David takes a trip into the local village to make a call at a phone box. When he emerges he is surprised to see a number of the villagers standing around him, one of which is played by Doug Bradley (Pinhead). He seems to think it’s funny that they are staying at the cottage & warms him about going out late.
Why? Well, this is where The Cottage turns into a horror. One that sees the hostage & her captors having to work together to escape the clutches of a deformed madman!
The latter part of the movie becomes a desperate fight to survive against a killer that has no remorse. While in no way original, the setup & characters ensure that The Cottage is an entertaining watch from beginning to end. The relationship between David & Peter is believable & no matter how frustrated they get with each other they still care.
Both Serkis & Shearsmith excel in their roles encouraging you to get behind them even if the whole plan from the start was idiotic.
Credit also has to be given to Jennifer Ellison who is brilliant as the foul-mouthed Tracey. She has no fear of her kidnappers & uses every angle to her advantage. Even when dealing with the psychotic killer she shows no fear which results in one of the best scenes of the movie.
The switch from a kidnapping drama to horror is well done. The movie flowing perfectly from one to the other barely skipping a beat. Questions about the cottage itself & surrounding areas are answered (sort of) & the finale is gleefully dark.
If the movie is lacking in any area it’s that the killer, while cool looking, is just a cookie cutter Jason from the Friday series. Even when we learn a little bit more about him (through photos) it doesn’t really make him anymore interesting.
Still, for all it’s lack of originality, The Cottage is an entertaining & very well acted horror movie. You’ll get a few laughs out of it too!