September 23, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 14  

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Cold Creek Manor a scare-free, clichéd yawn-fest

By Ryan Grosman
Gazette Writer

Cold Creek Manor

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dorff
Directed by: Mike Figgis

Gazette file photo
THE HORROR, THE HORROR! STEPHEN DORFF ISN'T WEARING A SHIRT! Dorff and Stone stink up the screen in Cold Creek Manor.

What's this? Another film about a creepy old haunted house? Well, not quite. Actually, a supernatural element might have made this film a little more interesting. As the film stands, it is a complete yawn-fest.

Cold Creek Manor tells the story of a married couple, Cooper (Quaid) and Leah Tilson (Stone), who move away from New York City after their son is almost run over by a car. For the sake of their children's safety, the Tilsons move into a large, spooky, dusty, run-down old manor, which is surrounded by thick wilderness (certainly not the model for safety). Items such as furniture, books, paintings, photographs and clothes belonging to the previous tenants, the Massies, have all been left behind.

Soon after the Tilsons move in, they are confronted by Dale Massie (Dorff), who has recently been released from jail. Dale claims to have been the previous owner of the house and offers his services to help resurrect the decaying old manor. However, things turn ugly for the Tilsons after Cooper fires the unstable Dale.

The movie is filled with horror and suspense film clichés. It's as if the film's creators took different elements from previous horror/suspense films and threw them all into one film. Cooper is chased by a dark car with bright headlights. A family pet is killed (no, it's not a rabbit - think The Godfather). There is a storm at the film's climax (there's always a storm). The list goes on and on and unfortunately, so does the movie.

In addition, the film's plot is straightforward and predictable. There are no plot twists or shocking turn of events you might expect from a film of the horror/suspense genre.

Furthermore, the acting is poor. With has-been actors Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone in the starring roles, the film should have been named "Dead Career Manor." Quaid is mediocre at best in his portrayal of a typical protective father and loving husband. As well, Stone, playing a mother of two young children, often appears detached from them. As for Dorff, he plays the classic, unbalanced psycho who seems to keep it together before completely losing it in the end (à la Shining). Overall, the slow pace, clichéd antics and sub-par acting add up to one forgettable film.



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