Andy Serkis: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
2. David - The Cottage (2008)
Making a successful horror-comedy is one of the hardest things to do in filmmaking. While the aesthetic sensibilities of horror and comedy are reasonably close, only a handful of films have ever achieved that rare feat of an audience simultaneously screaming in terror and laughing in mirth (or perhaps relief). For every Evil Dead, Shaun of the Dead or An American Werewolf in London, there are a hundred films like The Cottage - though one hopes this will be the one and only time that Serkis ventures into this territory. Written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams (who made the excellent London to Brighton), The Cottage stars Serkis and former League of Gentlemen member Reece Shearsmith as brothers David and Peter. At the beginning of the film, they have kidnapped Tracey (Jennifer Ellison), the daughter of crime boss Arnie (Steven Berkoff) and demanded a ransom. The characters end up at a disused farm house, which turns out to be the lair of a hideously deformed serial killer called The Farmer. While it comes with plenty of gore, The Cottage is neither funny nor scary enough to cut the mustard. Despite the presence of Shearsmith, it is much less a well-crafted black comedy than a lot of swearing, shouting and screaming intercut with bloody murder. Serkis, however, fails all the moreso by failing to make his character remotely emphatetic; while we pity Shearsmith, we couldn't care less about his brother. By depriving us from empathy, Serkis gives us nothing to root for, and the longer the film goes on the more mean-spirited and depressing both the story and his performance become.
Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.