15th Jul2015

‘Cottage Country’ VOD Review

by Joel Harley

Stars: Tyler Labine, Malin Akerman, Lucy Punch, Dan Petronijevic, Benjamin Ayres, Kenneth Welsh, Nancy Beatty, Sabrina Grdevich, Jim Annan, Jonathan Crombie, Earl Pastko, Bill Turnbull | Written by Jeremy Boxen | Directed by Peter Wellington

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Tucker and Dale vs Evil star Tyler Labine may have traded in the Hillbilly dungarees for a polo shirt and cargo shorts, but the film’s spirit is alive and well in Cottage Country, a witty woodland comedy horror with more than its own share of laughs. Look, stop reading this and go watch it already. Its twisty, constantly churning story is best viewed unspoiled.

Still reading? Well, if you insist. Taking off to the family holiday home for a week away from work, mild-mannered desk jockey Todd (Labine) and fiancee-to-be Cammie (Malin Akerman) don’t count upon the surprise appearance of his obnoxious brother Salinger (Dan Petronijevic) and horrible girlfriend Masha (Lucy Punch). With tensions quick to rise, it’s not long before the siblings are knocking lumps out of one another – leading to a surprise exit for the more awful brother. Cammie, however, doesn’t intend to let anything ruin her chances for future happiness – no matter what it takes.

Cottage Country is essentially a cabin in the woods movie then, but one that has more in common with Honeymoon and the aforementioned Tucker and Dale vs Evil than it does Evil Dead or Cabin Fever. No murderous zombies, demented hillbillies or Jason Voorhees types – we’re firmly in farce territory here, keeping the horror inclinations to a minimum (save for a few late appearances from a certain grisly bastard). Labine is as likeable as ever throughout it all, while Akerman is a hard one to gauge, her character constantly evolving as the story goes along. At least we can have fun properly hating Punch and  Petronijevic’s characters, who get most of the film’s best lines (when Kenneth Walsh isn’t around to steal the show, anyway).

Still, Cottage Country is frequently funny and always watchable. Its farce isn’t as dark or quite as unpredictable as it should or could have been, but then *cough* neither was Tucker and Dale vs Evil. It is, however, fun, funny and well-cast. Petronijevic and Punch are brilliantly loathsome and there are some fine twists as the couple attempt to cover up their misdeeds to an ever-growing crowd, and a sense of escalation that really works. Fans of that cult horror comedy I just keep on mentioning should love Cottage Country, while there’s plenty to please everyone else. It’s like an even more easy-going Coen Brothers, and that is no mean feat. Smart, inventive and literate in everything from Macbeth to The Shining, it’s one of the better genre movies of recent years. Depending on which genre it chooses to be at the time, anyway.

Are you still here? Go take a visit to Cottage Country, sharpish.

**** 4/5

Cottage Country is released on DVD and VOD (iTunes, Blinkbox, Google, XBox, Virgin Movies On Demand) on August 10th, courtesy of Bulldog Film Distribution.

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