(The ARCANUM feature is my attempt to present some of my older write-ups to newer Good and Most Beloved and Precious Readers)
This is actually not going to be an exact reprint of the original post as this was one of my first attempts at writing and it could use some updating. THE COTTAGE is one of my favorite horror comedies and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I present it again here, remastered in HD (and spell checked) with some pictures that weren’t found on the original. I hope you enjoy!
Let me start off by writing that this is probably my favorite horror comedy. I’ve probably watched this about seven times and each time I do, I still enjoy it. If I wait long enough and forget some of it, I enjoy it even more. Doing a web search on horror comedy, someone at about.com has his own list, and has this at number 16 with some questionable (IMO) choices ranked higher, leading up to Shaun of the Dead. I liked “SOTD”, but didn’t love it, like this. This movie is funny, gory, very well acted, very well organized, the sets were EXCELLENT, and, I mean, just overall awesome – to me. If you’re not in to the U.K. use of language / humor, a LOT of creative gore, nods to other films, rural-village-farmers-making-new-faces-for-themselves-a-la-Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre, then this might not be for you. Otherwise, if you think those things can be combined into a sweet horror comedy, this one kicks ass.
Here is the DVD art that came with my copy, that doesn’t do the movie much justice:
Here is some alternate movie poster art I would have liked, that queued a very funny point in the movie (tag line: “WELCOME TO THE BLOODY COUNTRYSIDE”):
What’s the plot? The two guys above kidnap the blond and take her to a remote cottage out in somewhere England where they plan to ransom her strip bar owning father for 100,000 Pounds. Mounted to the left is Peter, the feeble brother of the fellow mounted to the right, David. David works at the strip club where the daughter, Tracey, frequents. He hatches a plan to kidnap her, with the help of his brother (who will be able to talk to the father without his voice being recognized) so he can buy a boat and move out of Peter’s family’s house for good. The bag man is going to be Tracey’s completely inept brother in law, Andrew. Furthering the plot, after the kidnapping and “the phone call”, the father is immediately on to them and sends out his “Yakuza” guys to put an end to it. Too bad, no one knows that, across the woods, is a ranch where lives The Farmer, a family-crazed, tractor-accident-deformed man who collects human beings to A: eat them and B: make himself new faces. The kills in this are creative, hilarious and very bloody (no CGI here). The dialogue and acting are LOL-y and the situations these characters are put in and the way they react (verbally and physically) are wicked-smart. And I can’t say enough about the details of the sets. From the first cottage to the Farmer’s, they really, really did well making these look the way they wanted. Stacks of newspapers, years worth of Christmas boxes, insane amount of collected tea cups, hands in the freezer, etc. I could type for an hour…
So – without going into too much eternal detail – Peter and David kidnap Tracey, a FOUL MOUTHED, ASS KICKING lady who is not taking this as the woeful victim, to say the least, which is very funny. Peter is, I say again, feeble and meek and afraid to death of moths (we have three very creative scenes involving this). David is the bad ass “leader” of the group who has to try and keep it together to get the money. Andrew is even more comedy relief – totally stupid, but lovable, of course. They get her into the cottage where she fights back. The bag of money is actually full of tissues. Andrew bought the wrong mask. The electricity meter runs out and they have no money. There are moths. They are staked out by the Korean and Japanese killers. Their cell phones don’t work. There are weird villagers warning them about getting killed (yep that’s Pinhead). There are broken noses and jaws. And all of that’s just in the first half. In the second half we move to The Farmer’s cottage and get the meaty gore of the movie. Then we get The Farmer – twisted and murderous, face collecting, trying to (well, I won’t spoil it, but he has a motive).
I wish I could relay some of the funnier moments in this, but I can’t – you need to see it to recognize it. For instance there is a scene in The Farmer’s cottage where Peter is nursing his broken jaw with a bag of peas he casually grabbed from the freezer. He hears some movement from under the door in the floor. He screams. Tracey (upstairs) calls him some names and comes to his rescue (he is a grown man mind you). She opens the trap door – nothing there. She turns to berate him some more, does a triple take and says “Why are there hands in the freezer?” Pan to the open freezer door and there are dozens of green, moldy, severed hands (to the right below).
To conclude: I haven’t found anything wrong with this movie – but it might not be for everyone – if you are not into what I have tried to describe above. It’s funny, bloody, well acted and smartly executed. I don’t think you can go wrong if you want to get some laughs. It looks like they set it up for a sequel – I hope they make one!