Let me start off by saying this is NOT a ghost story, Cold Creek Manor is not haunted. This is something I have had to repeatedly tell people who have asked me about this film as they were lead to believe by the trailer that this is a film of a family tormented by a haunted house.
In fact this film follows the Tilsons, Cooper (Quaid) and Leah (Stone), and their two children as they are setting out to leave their non-stop lives in New York City for the quiet country.
In their search they stumble on an old manor, desperately in need of a makeover, but it seems to be just the place for them, but things soon change as Dale Massie (Dorff), the house’s former owner gets released from prison and finds out that he has lost his house and sets out to reclaim the house by any means necessary.
While this seemed to be an intriguing thriller that has been told in several different ways throughout the years the film just doesn’t work. The scenes that are meant to be thrilling just aren’t such as the scene in which the house is overrun by several poisonous snakes all interested in biting whoever comes near them, which may be frightening in real life just doesn’t translate well to film.
As far as the acting goes I think Stephen Dorff is an excellent bad guy whether he is playing a violent vampire in Blade or a psychopath as he does here in Cold Creek Manor, fault cannot be placed here, but as far as Quaid and Stone go I noticed a lot of overacting here, whether it was Quaid’s intense eyes that seemed to bug out in just about every scene or Sharon Stone trying to play a housewife, which doesn’t seem to fit.
Also, for a thriller one thing that adds intensity is a good soundtrack and this one is not good at all. Scored by director Mike Figgis the soundtrack is a throwback to something we may have heard in the 40s and 50s. This has worked in the past in such movies as Wolf but the difference there was that the score was updated to modern times and given what was then a 90s sound, but here it just seems clunky and in the way, detracting from the intensity of the scenes.
Cold Creek Manor is a movie that could have worked but just fails on too many levels for me to recommend it.