Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Mad Jester Reviews...

Cold Creek Manor

Hello again, gentle reader. Uncle MJ's back with another review, and this time, I decided to go with something that purported to be a little more 'psychological thriller' and a little less 'hey look, he just took that guy's head off with a pool-skimmer', so I decided to go with a big-budget, major-house movie and ended up picking Cold Creek Manor.

Which just goes to show, I need to make friends with RottenTomatoes before I do this shit again.

Cold Creek Manor is by no means a shitty movie. The effects are well done, the pacing is decent, the production values are beyond reproach, and the score sets the atmosphere beautifully. The characters were portrayed excellently- a great performance by a powerhouse cast: Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Juliette Lewis, Stephen "Ten Pounds of Man-pretty in a Five-Pound Bag" Dorff- hell, even Kristen Stewart, by virtue of being Kristen Stewart, perfectly plays the sullen, pouty, disaffected 13-year-old daughter.

Damn it Dorff, stop making me gay!
So why, precisely, did this movie feel like slogging through knee-deep mud to get a 7-11 hot dog?

I think it's because, when I look at it objectively, I've seen this movie before. Three or four times. Under different titles each time.

Devil's throat was thiiis big!

The plot is the real sticking point here. It's just so very rife with cliché- whitebread yuppie family moves to country to escape hectic city life, buys big rambling house, gets more than they bargained for in the form of murderous psychopath, fights for their life, killer dies, we finish our sodas and leave. Tell me you haven't seen at least two movies like that in the last five years or so. (My first thought was "Funny Games by Fisher-Price.") Matter of fact, with some minor alterations and some supernatural goodness mixed in, it could just as easily have been a remake of Funny Man. (Y'know, if director Mike Figgis made Dorff drop peyote and watch Warner Brothers cartoons for a couple months before they started shooting.) And it's not even the 'comfortably-familiar, I like this kind of story' thing, so much as a general 'I'm pretty sure we passed this rock two hours ago, just admit we're lost' feeling.

Played by Kweeny's snake Geoffrey...
Every plot point is telegraphed, every suspenseful moment so trite that, during the jumpy-bits, one can safely look away from the screen and still know what's happening. No word of lie, I actually checked my e-mail during the climax, heard shattering glass, and said to myself (without looking up) "Oop, Dale's busting into the kitchen with a killing-hammer! They'll be running upstairs now!" A quick rewind confirmed my suspicions, and this fact speaks to either the predictable, paint-by-numbers nature of the film, or my AWESOME WIZARD POWER.

Wrong Hammer dude!
(The marked and disappointing absence of harem-girls in my house seems to indicate the former being the more likely option.)

All in all, while it was hardly the torture-implement that is Hard Rock Zombies, nor the unrelenting squick-sensation that is A Serbian Film or Subconscious Cruelty, it's still not an especially enjoyable  viewing experience. Not good enough to be memorable, not bad enough to be Bad Movie Night-fodder, not killy enough to satisfy any misanthropic cravings, not suspenseful enough to be exciting.

Would I recommend Cold Creek Manor to anyone?

Naaaah, not really. You've already seen it.


  1. never heard of it before; looks and sounds awful. At least the cast is decent (apart from Kirsten Stewfart).

    Maybe one day you'll attend Project Terrible, then you can punish me with CCM :-)

  2. my gawd, just checked that this was directed by Mike Figgis ("Leaving Las Vegas") and written by Richard Jefferies ("Scarecrwos")! Painful to see such talent wasted :)

    1. You're so right! So much talent in one place, it's like it all collapsed in on itself like a neutron star, leaving a howling black hole of suck! Also Kristen Stewart.

  3. "that one's going straight to cinemax" was my favorite quote from someone in the theater when I saw it years ago. we love ya Ms. Todd

    1. Y'know, if it'd been direct-to-disc, or made for TV, I'd have no complaints- held to those standards, CCM is awesome. But for a big-name cinema film? Pablum. Lukewarm pablum.


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