Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Cottage Movie Review

Release Date: 2012
Directed by: Chris Jaymes
Runtime: ?
Rating: R

Michael (Victor Browne) and his wife Chloe (Kristen Dalton, “The Dead Zone”) live in a house with their two teenage daughters and toddler. They two planned to rent out the guest cottage to help pay the mortgage and since it’s been sitting empty, they need to find a renter fast. They find the perfect tenant, but a young woman shows up on the doorstep in tears. She introduces herself as the tenant’s sister Vanessa, and she tells them that her sister tragically died in a car accident.

Their quiet daughter Rose (Alana O’Mara) finds the perfect tenant online. Robert (David Arquette, “Scream”) seems like the right fit. He writes romance novels, loves peace and quiet, and gets along well with the family. Not long after her moves into the cottage, things take a darker turn.

As “The Cottage” unfolds, we learn that Michael was married before and his wife died, leaving him alone with Rose and her older sister Danielle (Morissa O’Mara). Chloe was actually Danielle’s teacher and she started dating their father not long after their mother died. Danielle hates her step-mother to the point where she explodes at a family dinner in front of Robert, making it clear that she thought her father should have mourned her mother more.

Meanwhile, Robert goes from the perfect tenant to a creepy outside practically overnight. Chloe catches him skinny dipping in the family pool one night, and when he sees her, he climbs out of the pool and takes his time walking away. He watches the teen girls just a little too long, and then tells Chloe that she should talk to Danielle about the way she dresses. Arquette is perfectly creepy as he tells the woman that her step-daughter might be a girl but he’s “just a man.”

Things take an even darker turn when Robert stops by Chloe’s friend Annie’s house. After lying to her about why he’s there, she runs inside to answer the phone and he walks right into her house. Though she tells him to leave, he comes back into the house. Robert forces himself on her, which leads to her asking him to leave again. When she threatens to call the police, he attacks her and takes her to his secret hideaway, letting the audience see just what’s going on in his mind.

“The Cottage” is one of those odd little films that you find by accident. When it was over, both myself and my boyfriend thought it was a strange film with a few nice little twists. It also has the type of ending that will leave you with some unanswered questions. How did Robert find out about the cottage? Why did he choose that family from all the other families in the neighborhood?

It also has some nice acting work, particularly from Dalton. I remember her best as Johnny’s love interest Dana on the cancelled-before-its-time “The Dead Zone,” but she looks completely different here. She’s believable as a woman stuck with two teen girls who despise her and the family she could have with her husband and new baby. Arquette also does a nice job of playing the creepy guy with a dark secret.

That is not to say that “The Cottage” doesn’t have its faults. Robert seems to pick his victims at random without any real reason. Annie does nothing to him and even seems attracted to him, but he has no problem getting rid of her early on. One teenager makes the mistake of staring at his girlfriend a little too long, while he picks another for daring to flirt with a teenage girl. While it’s not a film that I will watch again and again, it is an interesting little movie.

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