Cottage Country
R2 - United Kingdom - Bulldog Film
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (19th August 2015).
The Film

We first encounter Todd (Tyler Labine) as he is being berated by his manager at work. Todd is a non confrontational type of guy and takes it on the chin. He should be at home with his girlfriend Cammie (Malin Akerman) packing for their week away at Todd’s parent’s cabin on the lake. Whilst packing Todd’s things Cammie finds an engagement ring. Todd finally makes it home and the pair set off on their break away but are six hours behind schedule. Finally the pair arrive at the lake and Todd, completely exhausted from work and the long drive soon falls asleep. Cammie later wakes Todd with some ‘oral relief’ only for the mood to be spoilt with the arrival of Todd’s wastrel and good for nothing brother Salinger (Dan Petronijevic) and his free spirited East European girlfriend Masha (Lucy Punch). The next day the two ladies set off into the forest to pick mushrooms but not before Cammie tells Todd to tell Salinger that he and Masha have to leave. Cammie is looking forward to be proposed to (something she is not supposed to know about) and does not want Salinger and Masha to spoil the week. When the ladies have departed Todd finally plucks up the courage to confront his Brother and tell him to leave which results in a fight. Todd is hit with a bottle and cuts his head and still his Brother pursues the argument. Finally, the rage Todd has been bottling up is unleashed and he protects himself from his Brothers attacks with an axe which ends up buried in Salinger’s neck. Todd manages to hide the body before the women return where he then informs Cammie about what he has done. Cammie then takes charge, and not wanting to see her emotional investment in Todd ruined she proposes that they do away with Masha too, dispose of the bodies and pretend that Salinger and Masha were never there in the first place. Which works out fine until a whole host of Salinger’s friends arrive for a party and wonder why Salinger’s car is parked at the cottage but Salinger and Masha are nowhere to be seen.

Billed as a Rom-com horror film I was not anticipating enjoying the film as much as I did. More often than not these hybrid films tend to fall between two, or sometimes even three, stools and it is difficult to know who the film is ultimately being pitched too. ‘Cottage Country’ manages to achieve most of it’s aims in that it is funny in places whilst often being quite gory too. The scares are few and far between (although there was one shot that made me jump) but as the bodies pile up the tension and drama of the inevitable ramps up too. Labine is very good as the put upon Brother and his penchant for not swearing, even in very stressful situations is sweet and endearing (he prefers to say ‘flip’ rather than ‘fuck’.) Akerman as Cammie is excellent. She starts off sweet and sexy but soon turns into a domineering murderess and the transformation is fun to watch. Petronijevic’s portray of Salinger is top notch too but the show is stolen whenever Lucy Punch is on screen as the very weird and very fucked up Masha. The film works very well as a horror/thriller with plenty of dark humour to bring a smile to your face, even during intense scenes of murder. The majority of the film is set around the lakeside cottage and the scenery is beautiful and well photographed. The soundtrack features some great old time tunes to set the mood. ‘Cottage Country’ is a fun thriller which has enough twists and turns to keep you interested and never outstays it’s welcome and finishes with a flourish.

Video

Presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio. The film looks fine. The scenes around the lake are absolutely beautiful. The night shots are not too dark with a dark blue lighting used to good effect, as well as other lighting effects such as a camp fire. The greens and browns of the forest are lush whilst clothing, such as Todd and Cammie’s yellow slicker jackets are bright and exuberant.

Audio

There are two choices; English Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 and English Dolby Digital 5.1. The 2.0 mix is fine but obviously if you have the equipment the 5.1 mix is the one to go for. Dialogue is clear through the centre speaker. The rear speakers separate the sound mix of the lapping of the lake and the birds in the forest to good effect and the sub woofer gives a nice bass rumble, especially during the party scene with the music playing in the background. There are no subtitles available.

Extras

Nothing.

Overall

An enjoyable thriller/horror/comedy with a good cast. Not a laugh out loud film, but a quiet chuckle is often invoked and the gore scenes are as good as you will find in most horror films. The main cast are all very good, and Akerman is always nice to look at, but Lucy Punch as Masha steals the scenes in which she is in and it’s her that provoked the most laughs from me. If black comedies are your thing then you won’t want to miss ‘Cottage Country’.






The Film: A- Video: A Audio: A Extras: F Overall: B+

 


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