Cold Creek Manor Blu-ray Review

What would it be like to cross THE AMITYVILLE HORROR with CAPE FEAR?  Well look no farther back than 2003’s COLD CREEK MANOR … that is of course if those two superior horror films happened to be the biggest travesties that ever manifested from their genre or if perhaps I was writing this review in the Bizarro World.

Cold Creek Manor

Cooper Tilson (Dennis Quaid) just wants to give his family a better life, so he decides to move them out of the city to the countryside where he purchases an old mansion under foreclosure.  As the Tilsons try to fix up their dream house, they get a visit from the previous owner, Dale Massie (Stephen Dorff).  Massie pretends to friend the family in the guise of a handyman, but Copper begins to realize he has very dark ulterior motives.

It’s hard enough to rationalize events in a horror film, but when even the easy stuff, like setup, is completely inane, you know it’s going to be a long 2 hours.  Yes when little Jesse Tilson is nearly hit by a car because he decides to run out into the middle of a New York City street, well that’s the last straw for Mr. and Mrs. Tilson, this city is a death trap.  Time to quit jobs, sell property and move into a dilapidated old mansion in the middle of nowhere.

Cold Creek Manor

I’m not sure if director Mike Figgis was intentionally trying to make an unintentionally funny film, but for his sake, I sure hope so.  There is literally zero moments that would scare even the most squeamish of audiences.  Instead, laughter is what’s induced by dialogue on a junior high level where the go-to response from the main character is “Oh my god.”  You could actually turn it into a drinking game if you weren’t already drinking after watching just 10 minutes of this film.

Cold Creek Manor

The real horror of COLD CREEK MANOR is the quality of acting careers scared for life from being associated with it.  It’s bad enough that a solid performer like Dennis Quaid lowered himself to take on this script, but Christopher Plummer?  What kind of voodoo was Figgis using on his cast to get them to agree to shoot this disaster?  And to add insult to injury, the performances are even worse than the writing.  Cooper and his wife, played by Sharon Stone, run around reacting like they’re in a Benny Hill sketch because there are snakes that have been planted by Massie to make them want to abandon their new home.

Cold Creek Manor

COLD CREEK MANOR does not leave a cow pie unstepped in as far as bad horror clichés are concerned.  It has the incredibly transparent foreshadowing, the killer who explains everything before he does it, a town with only one inept cop and of course the protagonist who is compelled to stay in a psychotic situation until he gets to the bottom of what’s really going on.  But even when a so called “horror” film contains all these faux pas, they are usually still good for some chilling music effects.  This is where COLD CREEK MANOR really earns a lifetime Razzie award.  The music sounds like something you here when Mario enters King Koopa’s castle.  It’s also not in tune with the scenes at all, jarring the viewer in a more annoying than scary way.  Eventually, if you can make it to the final act of the film, it actually becomes humorous.

COLD CREEK MANOR is not even good enough to be in a collection with sequels of horror films branded with enough “X’s,” “V’s,” and “I’s” to rival a Super Bowl logo.  So instead of massacring 119 minutes of your time, do yourself a favor and just turn on a little FOX News, you’ll get your scare on in no time.


Video:  1.85:1 Widescreen This film is from 2003, so any real attempt at a full HD restoration would be obvious even to the untrained eye.  This film was simply up scaled and slapped onto a Blu-ray disc.  However, the look of the film has a nostalgic feel even though it was released only 9 years ago.  Digital quality has taken encompassed the industry so completely; that you might forget what real film grain looked like.  This upscale retains the perfect amount of grain while sharpening up the details and enhancing the color.

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 The audio mix is solid in this film, voices are very clear even when the characters are speaking softly.  And the music and sound effects, although incredibly dull and forgettable, do fade in and out cleanly without muddling any dialogue.

Cold Creek Manor

Commentary with Director Mike Figgis:  Figgis is very concise with his commentary, he came prepared and had tons of notes on filming and what it was like to work with the cast.  The presentation might have come across even better if Figgis was commenting on a quality film.

Cooper’s Documentary (7 min):  Writer Richard Jefferies along with Figgis, Quaid and Stone are interviewed about the story and Cooper’s documentary footage is shown.

Rules of the Genre (8 min):  Director Mike Figgis lists the rules of a horror film and how he tried to keep as faithful to them as possible. Ironically, keeping to these rules is exactly what makes this film so laughably bad.

Alternate Ending (4 min):  On occasion, the alternate ending is actually better than the one used in the final print of the film, especially when the film is not that great to begin with.  This however, is not one of those times.

Deleted Scenes (8 min):  Director Mike Figgis gives an intro to 6 deleted scenes that are so terrible they couldn’t even be included in a film this bad.


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