07 August 2011

The Cottage 2008 - REVIEW

No doubt my loyal readers can attest to the fact that I love a good British horror comedy. And let's face it, with the success of films like Shaun of the Dead and Severance, they're gonna keep on coming... YAY! The British are clearly taking over the reigns when it comes to dark comedies and be it Zombies, Eastern European Psychos or farm boy slashers, they do it and they do it well.

A criminal scheme gone wrong is just the start of a string of life-threatening bad luck in this darkly comic thriller. David (Andy Serkis) and Peter (Reece Shearsmith) are a pair of second-rate criminals who are eager to make a big score and think they've come up with the formula for a perfect crime. David works for a wealthy local businessman named Arnie who dotes on his teenaged stepdaughter Tracey (Jennifer Ellison), and so with the help of Arnie's slacker son Andrew (Steven O'Donnell), he and Peter kidnap the girl and demand a hefty ransom for her safe return. But Tracey puts up far more of a fight than David and Peter ever expected, and when Andrew picks up the ransom only to discover they've been given a decoy instead of cash, the would-be kidnappers have no clue what to do next. But this problem seems like small potatoes when the owner of the seemingly abandoned cottage where they're holed up unexpectedly returns -- he turns out to be a hideously deformed lunatic with a murderous temper and a bitter hatred of trespassers.

The acting in this is phenomenal all the way around but I give special props to Serkis. He's one of those actors that can transform himself and slip effortlessly into any role. The banter between him and Shearsmith had me rolling. Ellison was great as the tough, rich girl who ends up in a very bad situation. This people, is the perfect example of a cast loving what they do and not just showing up for a paycheck. This is the kind of acting you want to see in a horror film. It irritates me to no end when actors think horror is beneath them and just sleepwalk through the entire film.

Writer, director Paul Andrew Williams bangs out a fantastic script in this follow up to the critically acclaimed London to Brighton. He's definitely gonna be one to watch out for in the future if he keeps up this pace. Oh, and did I mention that this is only his second feature film (London to Brighton being the first). Oh what a glorious tale this man can weave. The storyline is believable and it's clear that Williams went to extra lengths to make sure that it was tightly put together. Cinematographer Christopher Ross follows Williams' direction superbly, creating a creepy yet comical setting. Yes, a lot of horror films are set in a cabin in the woods but this is definitely not your average horror film. It's much better. If you haven't had the opportunity to see this film yet, do it. You won't be sorry.

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