Baddie – Sibling rivalry.
Lesson – Don’t squabble around yard tools.
Sometimes movies pop up in my Netflix ‘recommended’ and I’m like, “Ehhhhhh…not convinced.” This was one of those movies that didn’t immediately grab me. However, I watched Cottage Country strictly on the basis that I was having a miserable day and I needed something funny in my life. And boy howdy did it deliver.
Maybe some of you will recall how much I love Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. I love love love love that movie. It’s probably one of my favorite films of all time. In fact, I re-watched the other day. “But what does that have to do with Cottage Country?” you might be asking. Tyler Labine, that’s what. Also, Canada. Tyler Labine, by the way, also known as Dale from Tucker & Dale vs Evil and Socks from “Reaper” which is a delightfully cheesy television show that mushes Ghostbusters-style shenanigans with a coming-of-age story, is great at looking incredulous. It’s his best skill. It works really well for this particular tale, which is of a couple, Todd and Cammie, that goes away for vacation only to be interrupted by his brother Salinger and his brother’s girlfriend, Masha. Things escalate, and in the heat of the moment, Todd hits Salinger in the neck with an ax, which as you might imagine, was pretty detrimental to one’s life.
So let’s talk about Cammie for a second, actually. Canadian movies, I’ve been finding, are really good at introducing some legitimately intense social issues into their films without being annoying, and in some cases, they do so hilariously. Tucker & Dale has some roots in how stereotypes and assumptions can be really damaging. Todd & The Book of Pure Evil tends to deal with high school issues as complex as coming out, but they do it with puppet monsters and dramatic musical numbers. This brings us to Cammie, who is the sweet unassuming wife of Todd, until she finds out that Todd accidentally killed Salinger. Then she morphs into a true desperate housewife. She explains that she won’t leave Todd, because she’s too old to find a non-murderer to marry and have kids with.
Now, maybe you’re saying, “Gosh, that seems sexist. Don’t you hate sexist things?” Golly, I sure do! But you know what this is? Satire! Clever, clever satire. If you are not up to date with today’s feminism, a lot of discourse surrounds the dichotomy of women having to decide between a fulltime career and becoming a mother, because unfortunately our bodies have given us a narrow window to birth children. Now, regardless of where you stand on the issue, perhaps everyone can agree that using this disparity to justify murder in a horror comedy context is effective.
Naturally, after killing Salinger and disposing of the body, all sorts of hijinks ensue involving the cover-up, which includes more murder. See, Salinger invited a bunch of friends over to the cabin to party for the weekend, and some of them have some questions, like, “Where’s Salinger?” Throw in some commentary about hipster culture without pushing the keffiyehs and glasses, and you’re golden.
If I had any complaints about this movie, it’s that it could be slightly gorier. Now, that’s kind of saying a lot, because I found it very evenly paced with just enough wit and snark, particularly provided by Todd’s jaded parents. The end of the film is insane, and if you exerted any patience to get through the rest, it totally pays off.