Okay, so, I don’t normally do this.
I have this belief that a person cannot properly assess a movie or book unless they have completed it in its entirety. With only a few exceptions, I’ve bent the rules on occasion. The Twilight Series, for instance. (I didn’t make it off the first page with that one.) And sometimes, I’ve wholeheartedly regretted other choices, ie. Fifty Shades of Grey. The book. I managed to power through that one with the determination of a person eating their own hand. That’s another rant for another day, however. :)
Today’s review surrounds 2003’s Cold Creek Manor or Cape Fear, Only Way More Boring. The movie stars Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dorff, Juliette Lewis (who was also in Cape Fear. I see what you did there, filmmakers), and a less bored looking Kristen Stewart when she was just a wee lass. It also bears the burden of being a movie that I have decided to review, even though though extenuating circumstances stopped me from completing it.
As it happens, once in a blue moon, a DVD or CD will suddenly cease to play while you’re watching it. While the good folks at Ferndale Public Library are on top of weeding out the older, more damaged books, CDs and DVDs, sometimes you get a tricky one. Cold Creek Manor is one of those movies. I got about halfway through and the DVD froze. I wasn’t able to clean it in time, and while I could have put off this review...well...I don’t think I care enough to keep watching anyway.
The plot is pretty simple. Big city couple living in the big city doing big city things. Big City Mom (Sharon Stone) is a high powered executive flying on a plane somewhere with her high powered partner. As the high powered partner propositions her, Big City Dad (Dennis Quaid) is back in the Big City rushing to get his children off to Big City Elementary. In all the rush, his Big City Son runs out into traffic and is nearly run down by a big city SUV.
This incident causes Big City Mom and Dad to get serious about Big City Life. Maybe Green Acres is the place to be? Maybe farm living is the life for them? In any event, that’s where the story and the credits start.
So, Big City Family moves out to the country where they buy a big old house in need of repair. The old house also comes with a full load of furniture and belongings owned by the previous family. Being that Big City Family are now the proud owners of somebody else’s stuff, the only logical course of action is to have a big yard sale. The locals don’t take too kindly to them selling the stuff or, even, just to them being in town, but for the most part, everybody keeps to themselves and keeps their misgivings down to a dull roar in hushed whispers at the local diner. Big City Dad decides that he’s going to gather some of the items as he’s a documentary filmmaker.
So, Big City Family is doing as expected in the country. Mom and dad are adjusting, son starts acting creepy by acting like the little boy that used to live in the house and wearing his clothes, teenager daughter is over it. Big City Dad has to go and buy a horse to make her happy.
Enter Stephen Dorff as the scary hillbilly...only, he’s not really that scary? Like there are a few moments in the beginning when you think he’s going to be a terrifying character seeking revenge upon the family...but then, none of it really goes anywhere? I mean, that is until he gets fired and how he gets fired sounds really discriminatory. Big City Family wakes up with snakes in the house. Big City Dad assumes that Scary Hillbilly is responsible and fires him. When he sees him later in a bar, they have a few words, but nothing terribly Scary Hillbilly-like. Just a sort of “You fired me and I don’t like you now”.
Later that night, Big City Dad almost gets run off the road by a giant truck. The chase gets tricky when Big City Dad accidentally hits a deer. When he gets up the next morning, his family is confused as to what’s happened to the car...then they find little Kristen Stewart’s horse floating in the pool. She accuses her dad, his wife accuses him, then his wife asks if they can just go back to the Big City. Then Big City Dad pulls the old You-are-my-wife-goodbye-city-life-speech, yeah, yeah, yeah.
It’s around there that the DVD froze.
Now, I know that all of this makes this sound like a really good thriller and, who knows? Maybe it is. Maybe it’s at this point that the movie picks up. Stephen Dorff’s character - who hasn’t really done anything particularly horrible except for hitting his girlfriend - which, don’t get me wrong, is pretty bad. But at this point, he hasn’t really done anything to the family and, well, they behaved unnecessarily hostile towards him at certain points in the movie. At this point, I’m kind of feeling like they have it coming to them.
Which could be the whole point of this story...which basically means I’ve already figured out the rest of the plot of the movie. I’m kind of hoping that’s not the case, but given that the most interesting things that happened in the movie so far can be distilled down to three points (The snakes in the house, Drunk Stephen Dorff hitting his girlfriend, and the horse in the pool). I was halfway through the movie and pretty tired of waiting for something to happen.
Lucky for this one, I’m not going to rate this one. The bottom line is that I didn’t finish it. Maybe this is a good movie. I doubt it, but the truth is that I can’t really judge this one just yet. I’m not particularly motivated to find out anything more about these characters or this story, but if I should ever come across it again in the future, maybe I’ll take it on again.
So, next week’s pick -- A Christmas Horror Story...and judging by the cover, I expect greatness. :D