SYM: Save Your Money !!! Yes, kiddies, this is one of those reviews. If you saw the preview for the movie, then stop right there, do not go to the theater, do not let the box office collect $9.00. Cold Creek Manor is a very unthrilling thriller that tortures the viewer with every passing moment.
The problem: Cold Creek Manor almost seems like a cheap knock off to The Amityville Horror, with a dash of equine mortality thrown in from The Godfather, with an element or two taken from Cape Fear. The film comes off more like a poorly executed spoof at times than a mystery/suspense thriller. Basically, the movie makes no sense and no matter how hard you try to put things together, they just don't parse.
The family consists of father Cooper Tilson (Dennis Quaid), a low-budget documentary producer/writer/director, and his business exec wife Leah (Sharon Stone). The pair decide to leave New York City after one of their annoying brats is almost hit by an SUV. They quickly find a sprawling estate recently foreclosed by the bank. Not being able to resist the bargain, or the lure of the house, they impulsively buy and move in, not knowing, as one character put it, what they are getting into or the history of the house.
That leads you to think that something truly sinister and horrid happened there, and it did, but the movie doesn't play on that, at least not very well. You get the idea that something is wrong with the house, and we are somewhat clued in on it through old photographs and innuendo from outsider wary locals who hint that there was some type of cult activity going on at the house. However, that is all it was, innuendo...there is nothing else in the story that builds or supports that, which I think would have been a credible line to follow. Alas, it doesn't and all we learn is that there was an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease among the family's livestock.
Of course you have to have the part where the troublemaker comes in, and it's the house's former owner Dale Massie (Stephen Dorff: Blade, Fear.com), a recently released correctional institution inmate, who literally lets himself into the family's house and life. He asks for a job renovating the house, and despite their better judgment, the family agrees. You already know the situation will turn out badly, but it's necessary to the movie's incongruent plot, so we forge ahead.
Well, this is where it was supposed to get interesting, but as you many of you have already surmised from my tone, it doesn't. It seems everyone in the town lives at this little diner owned by the Pinskis, once themselves outsiders and the only people friendly towards the Tilsons. Working there is Dale's girlfriend, Ruby, (Juliette Lewis looking every bit the white trash her character calls for), whom Dale likes to slap around. This doesn't sit well with her sister, Sheriff Annie Ferguson (Dana Eskelson: Singles), who stands a distant guard over the Tilsons.
Everyone, including the audience, but obviously not the Tilsons, knows that something homicidal went down at the house, but it goes absolutely nowhere until a highly unlikely and inexplicable find sends Cooper off to investigate. Naturally, it sets off the chain of events that lead up to the final confrontation between the crazed killer and the unwitting family. Once you do find out what really happened, then you will beg the question as to why our maniacal antagonist didn't use the same method to rid himself of his problem and reclaim what he felt was his. My answer: everyone involved in the movie was just too fucking stupid...including me for spending my money on this peice of crap.
When I saw that Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) directed this fiasco, it only deepened my sadness. Given his previous success and innovations, one would expect better from him, but he doesn't come through for us. The absurdity, implausibility, and laughability of this film insults the intelligence of the average moviegoer. The plot and action just jumps from place to place, and it seems as if it leaps over all reason. You would have to do more than merely suspend your disbelief and common sense, you'd have to push them down a well and let them drown. You just don't know how many times I wish someone had done that to me while I watched this movie.
Notes: Sharon Stone must have agreed to do this film while suffering from that brain aneurysm.
Czarina's Caustic Comment or Captious Compliment: A cold manner to waste 2 hours of your life.
Cold Creek Czarina
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