Film: The Cottage
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Writer: Paul Andrew Williams
Starring: Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith and Jennifer Ellison
This film starts with a car driving down the road. The two men from it are Andy Serkis and Reece Shearsmith. They go into a cottage and make some tea. From their banter back and forth, we learn they are brothers. Shearsmith is married and it seems like his wife is quite controlling. Serkis is quite mean to him as well. We also learn that Shearsmith is afraid of moths.
After their tea and we see that the reason for being there is Serkis has convinced Shearsmith to kidnap a woman. They remove her from the trunk of the car and she is Jennifer Ellison. She is knocked out and they carry her to the top of the stairs. Both of them are hiding their identities with ski masks. We get a funny scene with Shearsmith looking down at her breasts while he is holding her up. He looks back up when her hair shifts and she head-butts him, breaking his nose. The two get her into the room.
We then learn that Serkis knows her father and that’s the reason that Shearsmith is involved. Serkis needs him to protect his identity. The two practice what Shearsmith is required to say and goes back up to tell her and her father. It is messed up from the beginning though when Shearsmith drops his brother’s name. He is thrown off though by the vulgarity of Ellison.
The plan was Ellison’s step-brother to be given the money. The film shifts to him, Steven O’Donnell, as he walks through the strip club that his father owns. He is given a bag and sent to the drop off. The problem though is that he is followed by two Asians, Muk Li San and Chun Yo Fu. It appears his father didn’t trust him and knew he was in on it, as we learn when he gets to the cottage. The bag is filled with tissues.
Serkis is losing it as his plan is falling apart right in front of him. He decides to use a bank account to wire the money to instead. The account they decide to use upsets Shearsmith as it is their dead mother’s account. He calls his wife to get the account number, but ends up dropping the phone into some water. Serkis has to go to the nearby village to use a payphone to relay the new demands. It is here he meets the villagers with Doug Bradley among them. He is warned to not wander in the woods.
He gets back to find his brother and Ellison missing. O’Donnell is knocked out. She got free with a ploy and took Shearsmith with her. Another man comes in, Simon Schatzberger, telling them he was brought there by San and Fu. He has been butchered and warns them not to go into the woods. Serkis ignores his warnings and goes out there with O’Donnell. They find a bloody cleaver and the body of one of the Asians, his throat slit. Who did this?
Ellison and Shearsmith come upon on a farm house that is the home of something much worse than anything they’ve dealt with tonight. Can they get away from it alive? Or will they fall victim like those around them?
This was a film that I had seen the trailer to after watching the Phantom of the Opera with Ellison in it. I thought the premise was good and interesting. I had forgotten all about it until a podcast I listen to wanted everyone to watch it and send in their thoughts. I’m glad that this film was chosen for it. The premise of this film is great. It starts out as just a crime/kidnap film with heavy comedy. What makes it funny though is that you have guys who aren’t really criminals messing up, because this isn’t their lifestyles. Seeing Serkis’ frustration is great. The film then shifts to being a slasher. I thought they did a solid job in that part of it as well. I also really enjoyed what happens at the end, I really didn’t see that one coming, but it makes a lot more sense things that are found. It is great to see the turn of Shearsmith has his will to live kicks in.
I thought the acting was great. I will admit I had to turn subtitles on due to the accents of the characters as it was hard to understand. Serkis is an underrated actor that I’m a big fan. He normally plays CGI characters due to his ability with physical acting, but he is great overall. I loved when he got angry as Gollum kind of came out in his voice. Shearsmith was fun as the bumbling brother. I thought he gets much stronger as things happen to him. I would have liked a little bit more back-story on why he is so terrified of moths. I know it has to do with the greenhouse story, but that never is fully explored. Ellison was great. I’ve had a crush on her since Phantom of the Opera and it was fun to see her being so vulgar. She is also amazing to look at as well. The rest of the cast rounds out the film very well, but I have to shout-out Bradley for his cameo and Dave Legeno’s performance as the farmer.
The effects in this film looked to be practical and I thought they looked great. I had more issue with the characters doing things after certain damage was inflicted on them, but it doesn’t ruin the film at all. The blood and gore used looked really good. The editing of the film did have some slight issues. I did lose interest a bit as everyone leaves the cottage and heading toward the farm, but it picks right back up once they get there. It is interesting in the complete tonal shift of the film. The score is pretty good as well. It isn’t the best, but it definitely has its part of the scenes.
Now with that said this film fun. You get in the first half a kidnapping crime film mixed with comedy as it goes wrong. It then shifts to a slasher film with everyone trying to stay alive. I love how the film ends. The acting in this film is really good. The effects looked solid and were done practically. The editing has some slight issues, but not enough to ruin the film. The score of the film is good as well. I would say to give this film a viewing. It has the comedy to help alleviate some tension before the next scene and then amp it right back up. I would say that this is a good film that is worth a viewing. I will warn you that it is from the United Kingdom so the accents can be a bit thick, keep that in mind coming in. I’d recommend watching it with the subtitles on to get the full experience of understanding what is said.
My Rating: 8 out of 10