The Cottage (18)

2.00

Whatever else befalls it, Paul Andrew Williams' second feature will not win the critical adulation of his first, the magnificent, bleak London to Brighton.

The change of tempo and mood is evident from the outset, as frantic oompah music alerts us to something vaguely comical and sinister. And, as it transpires, outlandishly gruesome. Two brothers (Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith) have kidnapped a young woman (Jennifer Ellison) and taken her to a cottage on the outskirts of London, but their ransom plan goes belly-up when their victim escapes. The mood takes a drastic turn once the story shifts to a remote farmhouse, and Williams rolls out gory Gothic horrors reminiscent of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Serkis and Shearsmith do an amusing double-act of comic ineptitude, though Ellison's foul-mouthed Scouse spitfire is so atrocious as to be a nightmare all by herself. The slicings and skewerings might earn the film a minor reputation among Brit-horror aficionados; the rest of us will hope that Williams' debut was a more reliable indicator of his talent.

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