A clichéd, implausible thriller set in the small town tranquility of upstate New York, Cold Creek Manor stars Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone as the Tilsons, a pair of Manhattanites who trade in their apartment for a pad in the sticks. Buying a lavish country estate for a pittance, the couple move into their new des res only to discover that the previous owner, jailbird psychopath Stephen Dorff, wants to repossess it. Is it a backwoods thriller, or just plain backwards?
With such a creaking set-up, this Hollywood psycho thriller is in need of some serious oiling. No sooner have Tilson and his missus and kids stepped out of the removal truck than Dorff's insinuating redneck, Dale Massie, turns up. He offers to help patch up the swimming pool, licking his lips at Mrs Tilson with the kind of body language that threatens all kinds of Menacing Things.
It's bad enough that the Tilsons have bought his house and its contents lock stock and barrel for a song, but now Cooper Tilson's sniffing around the old family albums planning a documentary about the family and the days when Cold Creek Manor was a working cattle farm. All of which is making Massie as twitchy as a man who's just sat on a porcupine.
Those with a pair of eyes and a working brain cell will be able to piece together the plot's signposted twists in minutes, robbing Cold Creek Manor of any possible suspense. In fact the only troubling question is why director Mike Figgis - the recent standard-bearer of digital cinema with Timecode and Hotel - chose this hackneyed effort to mark his return to the Hollywood fold. Perhaps all those quad-screen outings have mangled his judgement as well as his wallet for, if he was expecting this to deliver a hit, he's likely to find himself up the creek without a paddle.