Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Dave Legeno, Jennifer Ellison, Steve O’Donnell
Directed by Paul Andrew Williams
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
The first time I went to see From Dusk Till Dawn in the theatre, I had no clue what it was about. For half the film’s runtime I’m diggin’ on a great crime drama, and then *BOOM* full-blown limb-flying vampire action! I was in a state of nirvana! The words “taken aback” had found new meaning. Since then the crime and horror genres have never really successfully mixed again. There were a few attempts, but they each fell way short of the 1996 (can you believe it’s been that long?) Robert Rodriguez established benchmark. Until now. The Cottage proves that the crime/horror recipe can still pack one hell of a punch!
Sit back, kids! It’s time to sing the praises of one of the best examples of horror done right courtesy of the good folks from across the pond.
We become acquainted with our two unlikely anti-heroes David (Serkis) and Peter (Shearsmith) as they’re unloading the kidnapped and chloroformed body of Arnie the local crime boss’ daughter, Tracey (Ellison), from the trunk of Peter’s vehicle. The plan was simple — Abduct the babe, get the cash, and everyone lives happily ever after. The hitch? Peter is a meek little man who knows nothing of the crime life and their accomplice (Arnie’s son, Andrew (O’Donnell)) is an absolute stooge. Once he becomes aware of what the situation is, Arnie sends two Asian hitmen after the bumbling troupe to exact revenge in the most violent of ways and get his daughter back. Talk about a clusterfuck! But things get even worse. Add to all these elements a murderous giant angry disfigured farmer (Legeno) who lost his face in an accident, and you have all the fixings for a blood-soaked slasher that will have you laughing one moment and wincing the next.
Hot damn! Simply put, The Cottage rocks on every conceivable level. From its Elfman-esque score to its incredible gore gags, you will more than just dig it. It’s a true genre bender that is packing something for everyone. Usually comedy in horror can spoil the pot, but here it works perfectly because director Williams understands that, no matter what, the big bad has to remain scary by playing it straight. Believe me when I tell you, the Farmer delivers. Not only is his disfigurement a sight to see, but he’s oozing violence every time that he’s onscreen. You may be able to tug a bit at his human side, but that won’t get you very far at all. Like a shark, there’s no bargaining with him. If you’re in his way, you’re getting killed. No if’s, and’s, or buts about it. Speaking of the kills … I’m amongst the most jaded horror fans out there, and even I was howling at some of the gags.
The only thing that keeps this movie from achieving a perfect score is that in the last act it becomes slightly derivative as it begins to go through some of the more cliché slasher film moments. Luckily for us every time something like that happens, something else occurs to get things back on track. No matter how you slice it, The Cottage is an absolute blast of the type of mayhem and carnage we’ve all come to enjoy. And Serkis’ performance honestly couldn’t get any better. He’s the epitome of pissed off.
My only beef with this package? The special features on the disc are truly skimpy. All that we get are four minutes of outtakes that aren’t as funny as you think they would be, two storyboard galleries, and nine deleted scenes that clock in at around twelve minutes combined. The scenes do contain some cool stuff, though, including an excised character named Smokin’ Joe and a running theme about dead pheasants. But it’s the last deleted scene that really shines. It’s straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, and I can’t help but wonder if it was removed because it was just too on the nose. A commentary would have helped, but it’s nowhere to be found. To hear from the film’s maker, click here for our interview with director Paul Andrew Williams.
Don’t hesitate another second. Click the link below and order yourself a copy of The Cottage ASAP! It delivers on everything that it should and even goes a bit above and beyond. Plus, there’s a cameo by a genre vet that’s sure to please many fans of puzzles and chains. Do yourself a favor and check in for a bloody good visit!
4 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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