More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.56%
Worth A Look: 14.75%
Average: 21.31%
Pretty Bad: 22.95%
Total Crap34.43%

3 reviews, 43 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Everybody Knows by Jay Seaver

Alita: Battle Angel by Peter Sobczynski

Integrity by Jay Seaver

Happy Death Day 2U by Peter Sobczynski

Arctic by Jay Seaver

Punk Samurai Slash Down by Jay Seaver

Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The by Rob Gonsalves

High Flying Bird by Peter Sobczynski

Tito and the Birds by Peter Sobczynski

Lego Movie 2, The by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

Cold Creek Manor
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Dorff On Cape Fear"
2 stars

When people discuss the death of originality in Hollywood, it helps that movies like Cold Creek Manor gives them a finger to point at and four more as backup. What begins as an intriguing premise quickly loses its way into another domestic thriller where the secrets of the past catch up with new people or something like that. But how’s this for a hook? A family moves into a new home where a crime is not only unsolved, its also unfinished. What the hell that means I don’t know, but I’ll be damned if I’m not intrigued. But once you remove said mystery and replace it with what we’ll call the Dorff factor, there’s only minutes to count before someone’s gonna be fighting on the roof in a rainstorm.

Dennis Quaid plays that documentarian, Cooper Tilson, who through a series of perfect excuses to hightail it out of the city with his family comes across the titular house in the country. His wife, Leah (Sharon Stone) obviously the breadwinner of the household (thanks to an unknown job that has her flying places) can just as easily leave behind career mysterioso and let her husband support them for awhile. Unless he was an editor on Bowling for Columbine, I’ld like to know where all that documentary money is flowing from.

Cooper doesn’t let us in on it at first, but all the leftover memorabilia from the home’s previous family has inspired him to do a new piece about them. Don’t know how much money would be in it, but not a bad idea creatively speaking. Little did he know that Dale Massee of the Cold Creek Massees would show up in his house one afternoon looking through his old stuff like a redneck replicant. When you factor in that Dale is played by Stephen Dorff (Blade), its enough to keep us all on edge to what his intentions are, but, fresh out of prison, he assures everyone he’s just looking for a job to help renovate the ol’ fixer-upper. Right.

Any hope for the mystery angle of this whole premise is dropped for the better part of an hour while this potential domestic invasion takes shape and we pray for one, just one surprise to develop. Don’t hold your breath. Not even when the house is overrun by snakes and director Mike Figgis does everything but plant buzzers and gummi worms on our seats. Not helping himself by supplying his own ridiculous over-the-top DUH-DA-DA! Score, this scene becomes so unbelievably comical that you can catch Stone laughing after Quaid lops the head off one of the slimy bastards. Then again, Stone is such a bad actress (and proving the case more than ever here) that she could just as easily misinterpreted what emotion she was supposed to play like after her husband mistakenly coldcocks her and all she can think to say is that he was right. Not about the punching, but it’s all interpretive. Let’s face it, Stone couldn’t act scared even if she looked in the mirror these days.

The screenplay however is not as its just as flimsy as it appears despite establishing some interesting visual clues early on that will only be remembered again at the 80-minute mark. We get a walk-through of the home and know the exact place the bad guy will fall-through. We see the case full of “killing hammers” minus one (that always seems open until its necessary for a nutzoid to smash it to bits.) We delight in the friendly new neighbors delivering a horse to the daughter (Panic Room’s Kristen Stewart, put into a bikini so we know she’s a girl this time) which we know is too big for a boiling pot, but is bound to turn up floating somewhere.

If I may digress along with the film for one moment, we’re made to believe that everyone around Quaid is stupid enough to believe he could have killed the horse in a DUI frenzy. We’re aware that he hit something with his car (we’re shown a deer get hit and then another cross the road safely), but not even Quaid breaks down the events logically. Whatever he hits causes minor damage to his left front side (a headlight and panel are busted.) If he hit a horse, wouldn’t the grill, trunk and Quaid’s face be somewhere implanted in the dashboard? If he DID hit the horse, was it just out of the stable for its nightly stroll along the highway? Did it manage to pick up the pieces and stumble back to the house before doing its flying horse impression into the pool?

All of this reeks of disbelief within that middle hour where the film goes from The Thin Blue Line into Cape Fear and then settling into The Ring minus the supernatural element and social commentary. They just brought the well. I only wish I had received a phone call seven days before to warn me.

Wouldn’t it have be slightly more interesting to have Quaid’s character piece together this family’s history, which up front suggests child abuse, murder and even incest? Would it have been so much to surprise us by NOT making Dorff just another run-of-the-mill bumpkin psychopath? Couldn’t Quaid have killed off the unrecognizable Christopher Plummer the same way he did in Dreamscape so we wouldn’t have to spend one more minute with him confusing scenery with chocolate-covered cherries?

The most significant plot point I pulled away from all of Cold Creek Manor was that the Tilson family bought the place for only 10 grand more than Hanks and Long paid for The Money Pit back in ’86. A frequently confused critic asked me and another colleague at the end of the movie if the experimental Figgis (see: Timecode or Hotel) was trying to play with genres or even goof upon generic thrillers like this. “No, it’s just bad,” we told him. Then he asked if the movie was sitting on the shelf for a long period or recut to the point where it just made no sense. If so, then at least we’d know what the unfinished crime was.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 09/19/03 15:23:04
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell IT SUCKS 1 stars
9/25/10 Dax Pretty scary, plot was pretty straightforward but I thought they actually did an ok job. 4 stars
5/03/07 karel A very naive movie 1 stars
1/28/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
1/06/06 aimless Staggeringly Bad, a showcase of Mike Figgis' limitations as a director 1 stars
12/15/05 Jeff Anderson Completely stupid from the word go! I've had migraine headaches more thrilling than this!! 1 stars
9/27/05 tatum I have seen better suspense on "This Old House" 2 stars
8/26/05 ES What was this about again? oh yeah, that's right, I don't care 1 stars
6/22/05 darick Not abysmal, merely forgettable and boring 2 stars
5/24/05 Tracie Smegelski This one is worth seeing just for little hottie Stephen Dorff. He's sexy and smokin' here! 4 stars
3/22/05 Kyle Not very original, but I thought it was entertaining. 4 stars
11/05/04 psycho black dwarf Greg: it's not Faulkner for crying out loud, but it's not FUBAR either, it's forgettable. 2 stars
9/27/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 I find it hard to imagine professionals made this unbearable garbage 1 stars
9/25/04 Playful Penis Paul More like Cold Creek Manure! Ha! Hahahaha...oh, I need medication 1 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva the snakes were a little much 3 stars
6/20/04 Stuart Ripped off - avoid 2 stars
6/06/04 sweet c dale(sooooo hot)the rest just cold!!! 3 stars
5/24/04 Erick Díaz Rubbish!!! 1 stars
5/05/04 Jack Sommersby Irredeemably awful. Neither scary nor suspenseful -- just endlessly tedious. 1 stars
4/23/04 James Hill It was a good movie 3 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt Really boring and not thrilling. Like a big budget Lifetime movie, but with bigger stars. 2 stars
3/09/04 bsho76 Watching this movie made me want to light myself on fire 2 stars
1/03/04 A F Cold Crap Manor. Suckiest suck that ever sucked 1 stars
12/31/03 Spill The Beans oh my god this scared me to death!! So suspensful and unpredicable!! Im still shaking 5 stars
11/21/03 Roy R. Pryor Promising starting suspense, but film passes over 7 opportunities to not be predictable. 2 stars
10/07/03 nr it was just okay 3 stars
9/30/03 Morgan Un-intense and completely predictable. Underdevelopment of the characters 1 stars
9/29/03 Nadia Murphy This was a terrible movie. I want my money back. 1 stars
9/29/03 Big Daddy Predictable but ok and keeps your attention. 3 stars
9/27/03 Pat Landry Bad Plot but I thought it had good acting. The ending should have shown the sheriff alive. 5 stars
9/27/03 Mary Hanson Totally loved it!!!! 5 stars
9/26/03 Angry Black Man A black family would have sold the damn house!!! 1 stars
9/22/03 jimmy james omg. wtf. lol. ggkthx. 1 stars
9/22/03 Ellie Bad acting, predictable, stupid!!! 2 stars
9/21/03 here i liked it it was good 5 stars
9/21/03 Janine Lay Predictable stupid plot, nothing scary, bad acting, stupid redneck bullshit 1 stars
9/20/03 Timmy This isn't a horror movie, it's just one of those crappy dramas 1 stars
9/20/03 Jason Zito I saw this for free, and it was the most expensive movie ever 1 stars
9/19/03 Mr Chan director forgot what movie about half-way through 1 stars
9/15/03 Gary good movie, but too many flaws 3 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  19-Sep-2003 (R)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast