Wednesday, October 27, 2010
NEW UK HORROR Day Four: THE COTTAGE (2008)
Directed by Paul Andrew Williams
I didn't really look into what this film was about before adding it to the list. It was just one of a batch of UK Horror films from the past few years that was getting some buzz. Then, upon receiving it from Netflix, I realized that it had Andy Serkis in it.
I've not been a huge fan of the man. I mean Gollum was a nice performance, but I didn't really know anything about him, and honestly couldn't remember seeing him in anything else. But then, earlier this week, he was one of my favorite parts about the film Deathwatch. His crazed character was maybe the most distinctive character in the film. He was certainly the most memorable.
The name Reece Shearsmith was familiar, but I couldn't place it. Then, as the movie was about the start, Dr. Girlfriend placed him. He's one of the talents behind The League of Gentlemen and Psychoville!
Boy did I feel dumb.
Serkis and Shearsmith play feuding brothers who've gotten together to do a shady deal, make a load of cash, and never have to see each other again. Serkis does a pretty good job of playing a thug, and Shearsmith is perfect as a nebbish, whipped husband. Together, they kidnap the daughter of a local club-owner (who's clearly more dangerous than anyone they have any right messing with), and hold her for ransom in a small house in the country.
But, as one might expect, there's danger in the country. This time it's not werewolves or terrorists (as in the last two films), but a mangled, insane farmer. And after about an hour of very entertaining bickering and absolutely clueless attempts at criminal activity, the horror-show begins.
The gore is extreme and surprising after the long build-up, and when death is being dealt, writer/director Williams doesn't hold anything back.
Now, I'll admit. I'm biased toward this film based on the casting. For some viewers, the first part of the film may drag a bit, but I found it a joy to watch. Serkis and Shearsmith work with each other beautifully. Whether it's the little things like Shearsmith lighting cigarettes for the both of them, or Serkis trying desperately not to beat his brother to death over every little annoying thing that he does. Their relationship is funny, tragic, and the heart of the film.
Like I've said repeatedly this week, little bits of humor and humanizing elevate what could be a standard film to something special. And that's the case here.
I really enjoyed this film. I didn't think it was as visually and narratively creative as Severance, but it was just as enjoyable. Both as an entertaining comedy and as a gruesome horror film.
This is turning out to be a pretty successful film festival, if I do say so myself.
Yeah, tonight was supposed to be a rewatch/reevaluation of Neil Marshall's The Descent, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to watch it again. We didn't care for it the first time through, and figured our time was better spent watching something new.