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Cold Creek Manor

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Cold Creek Manor

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone
Director: Mike Figgis
Rated: R
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: September 2003
Genres: Suspense, Thriller

*Also starring: Stephen Dorff, Juliette Lewis, Christopher Plummer, Dana Eskelson, Paula Brancati, Raoul Bhaneja, Shauna Black, George Buza, Aidan Devine, Jill Fleischman

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

If you've ever wanted to own a house with some history to it, COLD CREEK MANOR tries to disabuse you of that notion. By director Mike Figgis, who hasn't had a hit since LEAVING LAS VEGAS, the movie is a slow and plodding would-be thriller. The first two acts are fairly lifeless, leaving the last act to provide most of the punch. But at two long hours, the movie has long since lost our interest by the time it finally decides to come alive. The ending is not only predictable; it is also so clich‚d that it keeps almost lapsing into parody.

The main part of the story begins when the Tilsons, father Cooper (Dennis Quaid), mother Leah (Sharon Stone) and their two children, trade their tiny place in the city for a large and dilapidated country manor. They pick the house up for a song in a foreclosure sale. All of the movie's performances are unconvincing but none more so that of Stephen Dorff, who plays Dale Massie, a redneck slob and the story's villain. Just out of prison, Dale used to own the house. Dale's father (Christopher Plummer), who now lives in a nursing home, is a killer -- a sheep killer. The old man's claim to fame is that he once used a custom-made hammer to slaughter ten-thousand sheep in just three days. This Babe Ruth of butchers is an evil dude whose barbarism must have somehow affected his son.

As the film's score, which can only find notes on the lowest register of the piano, plays loudly, the Tilsons go about the business of remodeling their new place. Ominous signs are everywhere, but the director has little success in making us jump or care. If Figgis has any gift for crafting thrillers, COLD CREEK MANOR doesn't show it. Don't be surprised if you want to cry out to the characters as they engage in one stupid action after another. Actually, you won't cry out because you simply won't care.

COLD CREEK MANOR runs 1:59. The film is rated R for "violence, language and some sexuality" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave it ** 1/2. He thought it was too predictable but nicely frightening nonetheless. He especially liked the acting by Quaid and Dorff and their characters' rivalry.

Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes

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