In essence the straight to DVD The Cottage is everything a made for TV movie should be, mainly because it doesn’t deserve a place on the big screen. The Chris Jaymes’ thriller stars David Arquette as a romance novelist in need of a new home, or so the Carpenter family thinks.
When a newly wed couple decides to rent out the quaint cottage in their backyard in order to make ends meet, they seem to land on the worst possible renter imaginable- Robert Mars (Arquette). Mars jumps to take the property the day after the intended leaser falls through last minute, something he might know a little something about. Time goes on and somewhere between kidnapping and home invasions; things start to get a little weird around the Carpenter compound.
While Arquette takes his playful charm and turns it into quite the convincing villain without limits, his performance is the only saving grace The Cottage holds. No awards should be doled out just yet for his performance; in fact if anyone were to win an award for this movie, it should go to whoever convinced Arquette it was a good life decision to make. Last fall he came up big with the fourth installment in the Scream series, but it would appear he was in need of a quick buck.
As The Cottage progresses, things only seem to get stranger as Robert’s intricate history is slowly reveals itself. A shady back-story unfolds as he travels between his new cottage and a house in the desert where he has three vivacious young women waiting for him. Each day it seems any person who has any interaction with the Carpenter’s disappears, until the revelatory ending, which I would hate to spoil for anyone desperate enough to watch such a lackluster film. Although if you find yourself that in need of something to do, you can always just try bashing yourself over the head with a rock before you pop this gem into their DVD players; after all, both bring about the same after effects.
The script by Nick Antosca provides the characters with such a bland dialogue, that I’d be amazed if anyone found any juice in their roles other than Arquette. What Antosca attempts to pass off as character development really looks like he is just filling time until he can run with the ending he envisioned. The middle of the film is 50 % family drama and 50 % creepy Robert moments, something that should not be equal. He leaves storylines unfinished and unresolved, thus making the ending that much more non-gratifying. With a running time of 88 minutes, The Cottage still feels like it drags on too long.
At this point, anyone still left wanting to watch The Cottage really wants to see how strange it truly is, or just to see Arquette get his creep on. Either way, I’ll leave you with a piece of his final monologue: “I’m the person you let into your home, into your lives. Right under your nose, I saved your daughter from you.” Deranged. Psychotic. Awkward. Creepy. All the aforementioned words describe Robert and in turn The Cottage as a whole.