Cold Creek Manor


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Rating: R

Dennis Quaid as Cooper Tilson
Sharon Stone as Leah Tilson
Stephen Dorff as Dale Massie
Juliette Lewis as Ruby
Kristen Stewart as Kristen Tilson
Ryan Wilson as Jesse Tilson
Dana Eskelson as Sheriff Ferguson
Christopher Plummer as Mr. Massie
Simon Reynolds as Ray Pinsky
Kathleen Duborg as Ellen Pinski
Paula Brancati as Stephanie Pinski
Aidan Devine as Skip Linton
Wayne Robson as Stan Holland
Jordan Pettle as Declan
Ray Paisley as Dink

Special Features:
Commentary by director Mike Figgis

Deleted scenes including bonus alternate ending

“Rules of the Genre” featurette

“Cooper’s Documentary” featurette

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Subtitles
French Language Track
Running Time: 119 Minutes

Fed up with city life, Cooper and Leah Tilson take their children and move out to the country. They buy a large, run down manor from a bankruptcy sale and begin to fix it up. However, the former owner, Dale Massie, shows up. Feeling awkward, Cooper hires Dale on as a handyman to fix up the place. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that Dale wants the house back. He begins terrorizing the family in order to scare them away. Cooper doesn’t want to give up the house, but it just might cost him his life.

Cold Creek Manor is rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.

The Movie:
I was a bit disappointed by Cold Creek Manor. I thought it would be a murder mystery, but it wasn’t. I thought there would be some unexpected twists and turns in the plot to keep me guessing. There weren’t any. I mistakenly thought there might even be some supernatural elements to the film, but that wasn’t the case either. The film really ends up being a predictable mess with a plot that has been done before and been done better (think Fatal Attraction, Pacific Heights, etc.).

Cold Creek Manor has a solid cast. Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Juliette Lewis, Christopher Plummer, and Stephen Dorff are all excellent actors. Quaid is a good father character. Lewis is good as the town slut. Dorff is a good bad guy and psycho. However, the best acting in the world won’t help a movie if the story is weak and that is the case here.

The movie does have a few intriguing points. It’s interesting to see the family move into a house full of the former owners’ belongings. It adds an aura of mystery about the house. Director Mike Figgis (who also did the score for the film) does some interesting tricks with Cooper’s video camera. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to save the film.

The Extras:
There are a few extras included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

Commentary by director Mike Figgis – Since I wasn’t terribly into the movie, I found the commentary to be uninteresting. Throw onto that the fact that Figgis has a quiet, soft spoken voice and you have a sure cure for insomnia. Figgis does talk about the experience of filming the movie, changes made to the plot, etc. But otherwise it’s not a thrilling commentary.

Deleted scenes including bonus alternate ending – There are about seven deleted scenes included on this DVD. Each of them seems to be eliminated for a specific reason. For example, one scene makes it appear that Sharon Stone’s character flirted with Dale Massie. It makes her a little less sympathetic. Another scene shows Cooper taunting Dale during a game of pool. Not only does it not make sense (considering Cooper is terrified of Dale), but it also makes Cooper seem like he’s provoking Dale to homicide. Except for the pool table scene, all of the scenes are a less than 2 minutes long. There’s also an alternate ending that shows Cooper and Leah being interviewed by a magazine reporter (played by Mike Figgis). It is awkward and makes the characters seem rather callous about the whole experience (especially since Juliette Lewis’ character is shown laying flowers at Dale’s grave during their comments). I think the final ending is a bit better. Overall, though, the deleted scenes are better left on the cutting room floor.

“Rules of the Genre” featurette – This 8 minute video shows director Mike Figgis and writer Richard Jeffries pontificating about the psychological thriller genre. Ironically, Figgis talks about how the movie can’t be too slow and the pacing must be fast. Meanwhile, Cold Creek Manor in its final form really plods along. They also talk about how the movie can’t be predictable, yet the movie still is. They also talk about the structure, the editing, and other aspects of the storytelling. In the end, it seems they had the theory behind the movie right, just not the execution.

“Cooper’s Documentary” featurette – This 7 minute video gets into details about Cooper’s documentaries and how director Mike Figgis filmed the footage for his short films seen in the movie. They try to make it all seem revolutionary or clever, but it’s not that special.

The Bottom Line:
Unless you’re a really big fan of Dennis Quaid, Stephen Dorff, or Sharon Stone, you might just want to pass on Cold Creek Manor. And even then you may find yourself disappointed by this predictable film.