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COLD CREEK MANOR

The Tilsons have achieved the yuppie dream — they’ve cashed in the urban rat race for a quiet life in the bucolic country. The problem is, they’ve chosen to settle in a hive of barely employed rednecks who despise city slickers. Sure, they get the title manse for a deal (if you call 200K for a dilapidated sheep farm a deal), but then the former owner, Dale Massie (Stephen Dorff), shows up fresh out of prison and asks for a job fixing up the old place. It’s an awkward arrangement that casts shadows of Cape Fear and Straw Dogs. Of course, Cooper Tilson (Dennis Quaid) doesn’t hit it off with Dale, and when he stumbles onto the big, dark secret, a phalanx of snakes shows up (no joke).

Director Mike Figgis works to dress up the stale material by infusing every scene with sexual tension. Buff Dale struts around the estate shirtless while sucking up to Cooper’s wife (Sharon Stone); later he affirms his manhood by viciously screwing a petulant waitress (Juliette Lewis) in a mobile home. Dorff is quite good as the tortured spoiler, though his performance is easy to overlook as larger issues loom. How could a sheep farm have no fields? How could a house that was bought and paid for generations ago go belly up? And why is the talented director who made Internal Affairs and Leaving Las Vegas wallowing in this dung heap? (118 minutes)


Issue Date: September 26 - October 2, 2003
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