Cottage Country: Fantasia Review

Suspense and humor are at odds in story of a thwarted romantic getaway.

Tyler Labine and Malin Akerman play a couple whose quiet week by the lake is interrupted by bloodshed.

MONTREAL — Dreams of a picture-perfect bourgeois life go violently awry in Peter Wellington's Cottage Country, a lakefront Macbeth in which the stakes aren't the fate of a kingdom but the need of a tightly wound woman to hear "will you marry me?" in exactly the way she has planned. Despite some perfectly commercial ingredients and a familiar cast, the film winks too often to succeed as a thriller and hits too many strident notes to keep us rooting for the characters; theatrical prospects are limited.

Malin Akerman plays Cammie, a Type A woman who for some reason has decided her tubby, slightly dim boyfriend Todd (no offense intended to Tyler Labine) is the best she can do before the biological clock stops ticking. She's elated at the knowledge that he intends to propose to her on their week-long trip to his parents' lakeside cabin, and impatient with any obstacle to that agenda.

But Todd's overbearingly free-spirited brother Salinger didn't consult the cottage-occupancy schedule, and shows up with girlfriend Masha (Lucy Punch) just as the romantic getaway begins. He may have invited a few dozen friends to show up tomorrow night, in fact.

Desperate to keep his fiancee-to-be happy, Todd insists that Salinger has to pack his affectations up and leave. A fight ensues, and, as will sometimes happen in brotherly squabbles, Todd accidentally decapitates Salinger with an axe.

Instead of leaving in horror, Cammie doubles down on her commitment, taking charge of corpse disposal and the inevitable killing of Masha. The two take a picturesque canoe ride, drop some trash bags full of cadaver parts in the lake, and reach a tiny island just in time for Todd's sunset presentation of the ring. But by the time they get back to shore, the house is full of Sal's drunken friends, some of whom are a little too curious about where the host has gotten off to.

Labine brings as much likability as possible to a hard-to-love character, freaking out as Todd struggles to keep stories straight for Sal's friends and the cops who come later. Akerman has a tougher assignment, her one-dimensional character making demands that grow increasingly hard to believe. Predictably, Punch is hard to ignore in her few scenes, laying on the Russian sexpot act and making the most of dialogue like "I'm goink to rape yoor bolls off." The autumnal setting makes things easy to watch -- until, that is, Todd's victims come to haunt him in silly-corpse-makeup hallucinations.

Production Company: Whizbang Films

Cast: Malin Akerman, Tyler Labine, Lucy Punch, Daniel Petronijevic, Kenneth Welsh, Benjamin Ayres, Nancy Beatty

Director: Peter Wellington

Screenwriter: Jeremy Boxen

Producer: Frank Siracusa

Executive producers: Paul Gross, Frank Siracusa

Director of photography: Luc Montpellier

Production designer: Phillip Barker

Music: Asher Lenz, Stephen Skratt

Costume designer: Lea Carlson

Editor: Christopher Donaldson

No rating, 91 minutes