Killtoberfest 1 – #23: The Cottage

In All, Movies by Kyu


The Cottage stars the man on the right there, Andy Serkis–you can see the incredible CG work there required to recreate his exact appearance so that he could mo-cap his own performance–and on the left, Martin Freeman’s non-union Mexican equivalent. In the center is their victim, played by boobs.

Serkis and Freemano are brothers involved in a kidnapping plot that has comically gone awry because they’re all morons. Later they’ll be involved in a horror movie plot that also goes awry because the filmmakers neglected to learn the lessons of From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, to wit:

  1. If you are thinking of making a two-part film, one part crime, second part horror, take a breath and consider choosing which one you like better. Then make that one.
  2. If you are still insistent on doing this, make sure the first part FUCKING MATTERS when you get the second part.

The Cottage also unfortunately suffers from one problem FDTD was smart enough to dodge–all of its characters are terrible people (even the kidnapping victim).(1) This is vital to the quirky black-comedy crime movie genre, but death to the horror genre. If I don’t give a shit about anybody there, how am I supposed to be scared for them? FDTD gets around this problem by switching protagonists halfway through from the fugitives to the hostages, but that switch is still a blow to my ability to engage with the story.

The black comedy half of The Cottage is okay, but obviously we only get the set-up, not the payoff. (There’s even one set-up that completely fucking vanishes later on–the father of the kidnapped girl, a local mob boss, is supposed to be driving down to the cottage to retrieve his daughter. NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN.)

The horror movie half isn’t any better. Mute antagonist lurches around murdering people with farm implements in that style of filming that’s way too pleased with close shots of injuries. It’s filled with attempts to shoehorn in lots of backstory and world-building; meanwhile the characters never get as far as “We know what’s going on and we have a plan to escape” before they’ve been picked off by the killer. And to top it all off, the ending is equally dissatisfying. These are all side quibbles, though, and I might have overlooked them all if I cared about the characters.

So what we’re left with in The Cottage is an indifferent crime comedy transitioning poorly into a bad horror movie. This is one of those times where a movie releases to no fanfare, makes no money, and is utterly forgotten–and totally, completely deserves every bit of it.

Oh, hey, look at that. That may be the worst trailer I have ever seen in my life.

1 Has anybody ever made a movie where a sympathetic protagonist kidnapping victim escapes her captors only to find herself in a horror movie? That seems like it would work.