In the wake of the success of “Shaun of the Dead”, it’s a given that any British film attempting to merge comedy with horror will invariably draw comparisons to that film. “The Cottage”, a cheeky horror farce about a botched kidnapping, has already gotten the “if you liked Shaun, you’ll love…” treatment, but, in my opinion, this film has more in common with another horror hybrid experiment; Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s “From Dusk ‘til Dawn”.
The Cottage opens with two bumbling brothers, David (Andy Serkis) and Peter (Reece Shearsmith), settling into a remote cottage where they plan to ransom out their hostage, Tracy (the incredibly hot Jennifer Ellison), to her crime boss daddy. David plans on using his share of the ransom to buy himself a boat, while Peter – a criminal novice – is only doing this so that he can buy out his brother’s share of their late mother’s house. The duo have a third partner in Tracy’s slow-witted stepbrother, Andrew (Steve O'Donnell); a slovenly lout eager to get out from under his father’s oppressive wing. When Peter’s naivety leads to Tracy’s escape, David and Andrew must pursue them through the woods to an isolated farmhouse whose sole occupant threatens to do more than foul up their scheme.
The Cottage’s first half is a riotously funny look at the desperate and disparate relationship between David and Peter, and makes for a laugh-out-loud comedy crime caper. However, much like in From Dusk ‘til Dawn, the film’s horror quotient comes on rather suddenly and feels entirely out of place, turning what was a very engaging and humorous romp into a surreal, chaotic, and gory mess of splatstick comedy horror. As much as I usually like that sort of thing, I found myself sort of mourning the loss of the great bit of back and forth between Serkis and Shearsmith, and wished the filmmakers had found another, less obtrusive way to introduce the horror elements into the film.
The DVD from Sony sports deleted scenes and outtakes, trailers, and a Digital Copy of the film to upload onto your portable viewing device of choice.
The Cottage is a very entertaining film for the first fifty minutes or so, but I have to admit that I was a bit letdown by the second half, as the shift in focus from David and Peter to the deformed underdeveloped “Scooby Doo” villain proved a bit jarring and ineffective. Serkis and Shearsmith ( so great in The League of Gentlemen series) have wonderful chemistry, and their interaction, especially early on, is the real reason to see this film. Consider the blood and guts stuff a sort of half-hearted “bonus”.