Finally putting an end to their days as slaves to the hustle-bustle of city life, Gothamites Cooper Tilson and his wife, Leah, pack up their kids and all their possessions, and move into a recently repossessed mansion in the 'sticks' of New York State. Once a grand and elegant manor, the house at Cold Creek is now in shambles, but Cooper and Leah have unlimited time to show the house the tender loving care that it desperately needs. All's well until Dale Massie, the house's former owner, gets out of prison, looking to reclaim his birthright place, by any means necessary. There are two kinds of people in Cold Creek--those who come there, and those who are born there--and Dale quickly shows that one kind of resident always comes out on top. This challenged truth is particularly accurate, in this case, because Dale's house hides a deep, dark secret.
A serious filmmaker like Mike Figgis can be forgiven for slumming when he has a cast as stellar as the one that infuses the scream-by-numbers thriller with more psychological credibility than its screenplay merits. Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone are Cooper and Leah Tilson, a professional couple with two children who flee the New York rat race to settle on a country estate purchased at a fire-sale price. The bad vibes, along with infestation of snakes, slither into the mansion the moment the previous tenant, a sinister young roughneck (Stephen Dorff) fresh out of prison, appears. The battle between the city slicker and the violent ex-jailbird who wants his house back becomes primal male struggle, fraught with sexual paranoia. — Stephen Holden
2003-09-19 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Cold Creek Manor