Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone team up in “Cold Creek
Manor” genre-trapped psychological thriller about city
professionals who try to get in touch with their inner hick by
moving out to the country. Fleeing New York City for reasons that
only make sense to move the movie along, the couple and their two
kids move out to a rundown, foreclosed house where they slowly
discover that the quiet of rural life is only on the surface.

Beth Dykstra

The film more than anything serves as a discourse on
masculinity. The house’s previous owner, Dale (Stephen Dorff,
“Blade”), is hired by the family as the groundskeeper
and breeds immediate ground for male conflict. As the alpha male,
Dale is a man of the earth, whose shirts never stay on as he
asserts his dominance over the household. Dennis Quiad stars as
Cooper, the quiet film-making, scientific-minded husband who plays
second fiddle to a wife with a high-income job.

As Dale usurps Cooper’s standing in his home and in the
community, Cooper has to prove his manhood as the time winds down
until the inevitable final fight. The problem with the film is that
the audience is just too far ahead of the characters to maintain
any thrill in in this so-called “thriller.” The role is
ill-fitting for Dennis Quiad, as he plays the confused husband
Michael Douglas made his career on and Sharon Stone just smiles and
waits to scream.

The extra features consist of a self-congratulatory documentary
by Cooper as well as a segment entitled “Rules of the
Genre” which lists the conventions that construct the
thriller. This is ironic because the blind adherence to these rules
is what hampers the film. The deleted scenes are removed for a
reason, but there are a few that create an interesting tension and
further the phallic battle of masculinity. The alternate ending is
too hokey but leaves a few characters in radically different places
than the original. The director’s commentary adds an odd
weight to such a silly film; however, it ends up being more
interesting than the actual movie.

 

Movie: 2 out of 5 stars

Picture/Sound: 3.3 out of 5 stars

Features: 3 out of 5 stars

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