* (One star)
One could call this U.K.-produced horror flick a half-witted, fake-blood-soaked knockoff of a Guy Ritchie heist film. But that would be too generous. Here’s what passes for a plot: Two bickering brothers and their chubby sidekick kidnap the feisty daughter of a crime boss and hole up in the titular country abode to await delivery of the ransom. While the ringleader is out, the girl overpowers her remaining captors and escapes into the surrounding woods. The baddies regroup and give chase, unwittingly followed by hit men hired by the girl’s father. Eventually, everyone—or everyone who makes it through the woods in one piece—ends up at a creepy farmhouse, where a disfigured farmer dispatches them one by one with rusty farm implements.
About ten minutes in, I started to wonder which would disappear faster: the eight hapless characters on screen or the roughly equal number of victims in the seats around me. It was a nail-biter for a while, as every grizzly evisceration sent one audience member heading for the exit, head shaking in disgust. The four of us who stuck it out were rewarded with a slew of over-the-top mutilations. (Spoiler alert: At one point, the farmer rips out a character’s spinal column, head and all, and flings it through a window!)
The press materials suggest that The Cottage is meant to be a comedy-horror film. There was plenty of blood and guts (and, I’ll admit, a few moments of suspense), but unless you think fat people are inherently comic or that it’s funny when someone is called a “cunt,” you won’t find much to laugh about.—Chad Schlegel, digital content director
[This is a TONY staff review, written for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is not considered an official review and should not be read as such. Please think of it as a casual impression from a movie-loving friend.]
Cast and crew