Cold Creek Manor
From the director of Leaving Las Vegas
, the photographer of Vanya on 42nd Street
, and the editor of Boogie Nights
comes a typical Hollywood stalker thriller. That should pretty much tell you everything. High class talent fucking around with B-grade material, and for the most part it works quite well. Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, and their 2.0 kids (including the daughter from Panic Room
, already typecast as the kid who moves into the scary new house where violence will occur) emigrate from the mean streets of Manhattan to the calm of the country and buy a huge estate that used to be the property of evil redneck Stephen Dorff (you can tell he’s mean because he smokes hand-rolled cigarettes and wears a trucker cap attached to the ass end of his belt loop).
Typical stalker-killer plot ensues at the halfway point, as the bad guy tortures the innocent family with things that no one can prove, culminating in a violent showdown that allows Syd Field-educated screenwriter Richard Jefferies to pay off all of his obvious plants in the first act. Mike Figgis directs the hell out of it, though, shooting in lush 35mm for once and dollying his camera around at just the right moments and placing his lens at just the right length for maximum suspense. Quaid is solid, and surprisingly, Sharon Stone is quite tolerable and even humble – offering each scene to Quaid and Dorff and letting her nicely sketched character lend to the piece as a whole (rather than doing her energy-sucking self-absorption a la The Muse
). Even Juliette Lewis has a hilarious white trash turn (way too much make-up, pseudo-femullet cut), and the dialogue snaps when it needs to. Although the story is formulaic and nothing unpredictable ever happens, Figgis gets to address urban sprawl in a charmingly nasty fashion – putting his yuppies in grisly peril and pointing out that the roots of decay are in the family, not the environment.