Cold Creek Manor


Dumb Couple Seeks Creepy Handyman

Main Cast: Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dorff, Juliette Lewis

Director: Richard Jeffries

Plot Summary: A family moves into an old mansion in the country and hires the previous owner. This may have turned out to be a mistake as he is not what he seems in Cold Creek Manor.

With thrillers, there are generally two types. The action-thriller usually has much running around, usually in a city, with a killer piling up bodies for the hero/heroes to find and figure out what to do. The drama thriller may begin with violence, but settle down to a more sedate character focus. It’s hard to mix the two together to please all audiences.

This movie is such a mix. Cooper (Quaid) and Leah Tilson (Stone) live in the big city: Cooper is a stay-at-home father and Leah makes the big bucks as a businessperson. But a non-fatal accident in the family leads to a change of lifestyle: they want to get out into the country. They do so, of course, and end up at a scruffy but elegant mansion. It needs a lot of work.

So far, so good. This is the drama part. Nothing really has happened, although obviously we know something will. The less patient in the audience may already have given up by now. It’s nice to build up to your action, but too much time in this day and age is fatal. I don’t particularly like it, but that’s the way it is. In any case, things start to pick up when the obvious bad guy arrives: Dorff as Dale Massie, the previous owner of the place.

And while I think Cooper and Leah were understandably hesitant, I don’t think any rational couple would have hired this guy to restore their house (okay, his old house). But without that I guess there would be no plot. and that’s the rub. I think they could have done so without dumbing-down the couple. Of course our fears are well-placed, and this guy isn’t the sort you’d want around your house. Or in the county, for that matter.

Bottom line, can I recommend this one? Not really. It is skillfully acted and nicely filmed, but the plot holes and implausibility ruin it for me.

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