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STUDIO: Entertainment One
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
David Arquette gets to flex his creepy muscles in this suburban thriller.
Directed by Chris Jaymes, written by Nick Antosca, starring David Arquette, Kristen Dalton, and Victor Browne.
The Carpenter’s rent their suburban cottage out to a seemingly quiet new tenant, Robert Mars, a romance novelist. While their annoying teen daughters quarrel, the Carpenter’s quickly discover that Robert is hiding some dark secret.
The back of The Cottage‘s DVD case reads “based on a harrowing true story.” It’s even written in drippy blood font to make it extra harrowing. I tried to find this allegedly “true” source story but came up with nothing. I couldn’t even find an interview with director Chris Jaymes to back up the claim. Then it hit me. I had been duped.
The Cottage is a work of fiction from writer Nick Antosca, whose only prior credit according to IMDB is that goofy-looking MTV show with the blasphemous name Teen Wolf. A cable horror show has got to have some restraint when it comes to gore and violence and such. Unfortunately Antosca shows that same kinda restraint with The Cottage. It sets us up for a thrilling suburban nightmare, but then holds back until the only thing it resembles is a Lifetime movie.
Chloe (Kristen Dalton) and Michael Carpenter (Victor Browne) have a pretty sweet chunk of land out in the suburbs. They’ve got a huge house, a pool, and a cottage out back. Michael is a composer and Chloe is in between jobs. They have two daughters from different marriages, Danielle and Rose. Danielle hates her new mom and lets her know every chance she gets. Rose is quiet, always texting or chatting online. The entire family is as uninteresting as they sound.
David Arquette plays Robert Mars, a romance novelist who rents out the Carpenter’s cottage. He’s charming and borderline flirtatious with Chloe. The cottage is the perfect place for him to work on his new, racy novel. As he explains, he has a very loyal fanbase. We see just how loyal he means later on in the film.
Robert starts to get wicked creepy – swimming naked at night, making comments about the Carpenter’s daughters, and making unexpected drop-ins. Arquette is a fantastic creep. I’ve always liked him as an actor though I feel he’s given the shit end of the stick a lot of the time. He was consistently great in the Scream films and he’s downright incredible in Robert Rodriguez’s Roadracers. So I was excited to see him play a creep here.
His acting is all over the place though. From one scene to the next, it’s like he’s playing different roles. I’m not sure if it was intentionally supposed to be schizo or not, but it doesn’t work. The rest of the cast delivers on par, but my man Arquette zigs and zags between great and just plain confusing in his delivery. There’s a dinner scene where it sounds like he was on a different page of the script than the other actors.
Most of the blame is to be put on the script, of course. There’s so much potential for a nasty little thriller, but it completely goes off the rails. Intentions and motivations are all over the place and we never spend long enough time with any character to make a bond with them. So when bodies started dropping, I couldn’t have cared less. The suspense is non-existent and I couldn’t help but thing that Antosca’s background writing for TV led him to soften the blows here.
And now, a brief open letter to Mr. David Arquette.
David Arquette, I know you’re usually banished into supporting actor roles, but if you keep delivering unintentionally weird performances like you’ve done in The Cottage, that’s not going to change. I know you’re capable of greatness. You’re role as Dude Delaney in Roadracers is amazing and really fun to watch. And I’ll fight anyone who didn’t like you as Dewey in the Scream films. My girlfriend even loved you in that episode of Medium you did! You always manage to play guys we want to have a beer with, to watch the game with. You effortlessly make us sympathize with you in nearly every role and I for one would love to see you in the lead more often. So knock it off with the shit you pulled in The Cottage. You’re better than that, pal.
Just a trailer.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars