Monday, August 2, 2010

#41 - Cold Creek Manor - 2003

The 6th movie I watched this week was Cold Creek Manor. Another film from 2003 this one was one that really intrigued me when I first saw the preview. There is just something about creepy horror/mystery type films that take place in large, dark looking houses and mansions in secluded area's. I mean the premise for these films already has an advantage due to the creepy setting it takes place in. Below is my detailed review of this film.

This film stars Dennis Quaid as Cooper Tilson and Sharon Stone as his wife Leah Tilson. They are a couple living in New York City who decide to move to the country and get out of the hustle and bustle of the big city. They have two children, one boy and one girl who is played by none other than Kristen Stewart. Its amazing to me how many movies I now see her in when she was younger, i.e.: this one and Panic Room to name a couple. This film also stars Stephen Dorff as Dale Massie, Juliette Lewis as his girlfriend/bartender, Ruby, and Christopher Plummer as Mr. Massie.

The jist of this film is that the Tilson's purchased this property along with all the belongings in it as a foreclosure home and it was evident that something had happened for them to have gotten such a great deal. What actually had happened was that Dale Massie had lived there with his family and it was a family owned property for decades and a deep dark secret unfolded throughout the movie as to what took place there at Cold Creek Manor. The first hint that something was awry was when Dale Massie showed up out of nowhere at the home and was in fact inside the home without anyone's knowledge. He was actually looking for work since he had just gotten out of jail and this is where the movie really started to pick up and piece stories together.

The acting in this film was decent but nothing spectacular. It wasn't a film that relied on great acting skills because in these type of films the setting, story, and suspense usually outshine any acting performances. This is not to say the acting was bad because it wasn't it just wasn't so great that it stood out in this film and that is normal for these type of movies. Lets be honest not every mystery/suspense thriller can have Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster type performances like they did in Silence of the Lambs, those are unique and very rare and probably a bad example since they were both Oscar winners, but you get my drift in regards to acting right?

Ok enough about that, lets speak about the setting of this film. I loved the creepy old house with boatloads of pictures, videos, artifacts, and antiques that came along with it. Just watching Quaid's character sift through some of this stuff was crazy because it makes you wonder if this type of stuff really ever happens. An owner taking over ownership of everything inside the previous owner's home. I'm sure it does but probably not to the extend show in the film because lets be honest, this is Hollywood filmmaking here so it cant all be real right? haha.

There were some creepy scenes in this film like the dead horse in the pool (more sad than creepy actually), all the snakes in the house, and the hole that led to bodies known as the "Devils Throat" which was in the woods nearby the home. These scenes were not necessarily scary but suspenseful. I personally wish there had been more scenes in this film that took place at night because the setting would have been perfect for it. There was one scene however that was probably the creepiest just because of what was taking place and the way it was shot. When Cooper was trying to get the sheriff on the phone back at the truck you see the sheriff back at the office on the ground dying with blood all around her head and her jacket and hat missing. The screen then shows Leah waiting for Cooper to come back by the hole where the bodies are buried look up and in slow motion you see someone with the sheriff's jacket and hat approaching Leah. As the head tilts up we see that it was Dale Massie and he violently shoves her down the hole. That led to a short and unsatisfying battle scene at the end of the movie and although I felt this movie did have some elements of suspense to it I felt more could have been done.

In the end it is revealed that Dale Massie killed his family and buried them down the "Devil's Throat" and he was coming back to claim his property. In classic Hollywood ending style the Tilson's defeated him and eventually killed him but like I said the final battle scene was too quick and short for me. Considering the average acting performances, slow beginning to the film, and rather lackluster ending I couldn't bring myself to give this movie better than a C.

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