Film & DVD Review: Cold Creek Manor

Reviewed by Jacqueline

Director, Mike Figgis, of One Night Stand and Leaving Las Vegas delivers an unusual thriller. What is exceptional about the film is that two children take prominent roles. Kristen Tilson, (Kristen Stewart) and her brother Jesse Tilson, (Ryan Wilson), star alongside big names Sharon Stone and Dennis Quaid.

Their mother, Leah Tilson, (Sharon Stone – 1995 Golden Globe winner for the film Casino) and father Cooper Tilson, (Dennis Quaid, star of Traffic and Far From Heaven) moved the family out of New York so they could spend more quality time together. They bought their ideal home in the country, an old dilapidated mansion which required some repair work, they got it for a good price as it had been repossessed from the previous owner and put on the market for a quick sale.

Unfortunately their dream house has a bad history and the previous owner is bitter, resentful and angry that his home has been taken from him. The new owners Leah and Cooper have no idea of this to begin with.

They quickly realise, however, that the people in the town are strange and hostile to newcomers. Undeterred, the family tried their best to fit into country living. They eat in the local cafe and sit and chat with the locals, trying to make friends and find out more about their house.

Much to the annoyance of her husband Leah employs the services of a handyman, Dale Massie, to refurbish the swimming pool to its full glory. He seems creepy and Kristen and Jessie take an instant dislike to him.

Dale, the handyman lurks around the house, he eventually tells Cooper that he used to live in the mansion with his father. Several ugly incidents later involving Dale makes Cooper suspicious, he visits Dale’s sick father in hospital, and he later puts the pieces of the jigsaw together. Cooper knows that Dale is trouble and that he is hiding something. Leah and Cooper start fighting, they become further apart despite moving to the country to get closer. Part of the problem is that she can’t see through Dale and she can’t seem to understand why her husband is getting obsessed with the mansion. He searches deep and far looking for the truth, he needs to find out what happened to the people in the photos he has found in his family home.

Leah only realises that she was wrong when her son gives her information that would help the family crack the code. She immediately rushes off to the aid of her husband who is in extreme danger.

I thought the script could have been better, perhaps I have seen too many movies of late where the handyman turns out to be the bad guy, (a repetitive formula, that becomes boring after a while). Perhaps I would have liked to have seen Sherrif Ferguson, (Dana Eskelson) and Ruby, (Juliette Lewis) having meatier roles and other sides to their characters developed. Perhaps Ruby could have taken revenge on Dale for the way he treated her. It might have been a great twist to the storyline if it turned out that it was her who had been the baddie.

Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone seemed a bit wooden in this movie and that there didn’t seem to be any chemistry between the two of them. For me the best stars of the movie were the two Tilson youngsters, who are stars in the making and ones to watch out for in the future.

Not all bad though, the movie apart from the one particularly ugly scene is entertaining and will keep you in suspense.

DIRECTOR: Mike Figgis


  • Mike Figgis
  • Richard Jefferies
  • Lata Ryan
  • Annie StewartSCREENWRITER: Richard JefferiesCAST
  • Cooper Tilson, (Dennis Quaid)
  • Leah Tilson, (Sharon Stone)
  • Kristen Tilson, (Kristen Stewart)
  • Jesse Tilson, (Ryan Wilson)
  • Dale Massie, (Stephen Dorff)
  • Ruby, (Juliette Lewis)
  • Sherrif Ferguson, (Dana Eskelson)
  • Mr Massie, (Christopher Plummer)
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