Cold Creek Manor is Straw Dogs for the second mortgage set. While Mike Figgis is no Peckinpah, when he takes a break from his difficult, experimental films, he makes a pretty good thriller. The sounds of crickets on a silent country night were never more ominous. Stephen Dorff and his six pack put in surprisingly good performances as the Max Cady of the Pabst Blue Ribbon set. (His character’s name, Dale Massie, is even a mnemonic echo of Cady’s.)
The story of a well-heeled Manhattan family who attempt to “go native” somewhere upstate and are confronted by an incredibly hostile local, Cold Creek takes elements of Deliverance (“What are we doing here in the middle of nowhere!?!”), combines them with The Money Pit (“This house will kill us!!!”) and plays like the demented cautionary sidebar left out of New York Magazine’s The Call of the Catskills cover story from this past August. Can a sissified city slicker protect hearth and home from trailer trash from the sticks? Of course, but more to the point, if a beautiful stained-glass atrium appears in the first act, what are the chances the bad guy will plunge through it in the third?
I can recommend Cold Creek Manor much more than the movie I snuck into after the screening. In true Harry Potter-style, this film was so bad, it shall not be named. Needless to say its creator should retire quickly, its stars should stick to better-written, more age appropriate material, and its cinematographer should learn that when shooting in a restaurant with sunlight outside, a simple filter would keep distracting solar flares out of his frame.
Half the audience walked out of this movie that shall not be named, and only one person (who I assumed to be on drugs) laughed during its plodding, dreary, tone-deaf “plot.” Basically, this movie was awful and I’d prefer not say Anything Else about it.