It’s hard to imagine that when director Mike Figgis was weaving together his world of intrigue in “Cold Creek Manor,” his psychological ploys would only meet laughter from audiences. Sadly, this is precisely what happened.
The mystery of what happened at Cold Creek is less than captivating. “Cold Creek Manor” tells the story of Cooper and Leah Tilson (Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone) who decide, after their son Jesse (Ryan Wilson) is nearly hit by a car, to escape New York City for a more peaceful life in the town of Bellingham. Finding the beautiful fixer-upper in the countryside, they embark on the beginnings of a new life, restoring an old mansion and the fabric of their family.
That all begins to slip when Dale Massie (Stephen Dorff) rudely pushes himself into their lives by trapping the Tilsons into letting him help restore the house. Dale was the former owner of the house until he went to prison for three years and lost it to the bank. But he hasn’t let it go so easily.
As the tale unfolds and the various twists are revealed, the shock level is minimal. A mysterious large house with a tainted past is not a new concept and no original spin is added to that framework. From slithering reptiles to killing the daughter’s horse, Dale does everything to make sure the Tilsons don’t discover the murderous secrets of Cold Creek Manor.
The film is plagued by predictability. Dorff’s arrival is so painfully drawn out, it’s no surprise he’s the gravitational center of the rest of the film. His character lacks the charm or ingenuity that might make him an entertaining villain. The role highlights more Dorff’s ability to look nice with no shirt than anything else.
Everything from the occasional sloppy cut to the fact that our just-out-of-jail villain is wearing expensive designer work jeans contributes to the film’s lack of credibility.
Quaid and Stone bring the strongest element to the film. Quaid does a good job of playing the insecure but decent family man. He’s the most believable performance in the film, portraying how a normal father would try to protect his family in abnormal circumstances. Stone also holds her own but it seems that the script offered her little with which to work.
Rating: 1 star.