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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Cold Creek Manor (2003)

Cold Creek Manor (2003)

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Released 12-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Mike Figgis (Director)
Featurette-Cooper's Documentary
Featurette-Rules Of The Genre
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Director's Commentary
Alternate Ending
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 114:04
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:25) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mike Figgis

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Dennis Quaid
Sharon Stone
Stephen Dorff
Juliette Lewis
Kristen Stewart
Ryan Wilson
Dana Eskelson
Christopher Plummer
Simon Reynolds
Kathleen Duborg
Paula Brancati
Aidan Devine
Wayne Robson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Mike Figgis

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Portuguese Audio Commentary
Spanish Titling
Portuguese Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I enjoy psychological thrillers, and when this one hit the list of upcoming DVD releases it piqued my interest, especially after I noticed it was directed by Mike Figgis, the director of Leaving Las Vegas, and starred Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone. This started me thinking about why I hadn't heard of this film before. A bit of digging for information resulted in me finding out that this film was released in late 2003 theatrically in the US but did poorly at the box office, only taking $21 million. Accordingly, as far as I can tell, it was not released theatrically here in Australia . Undeterred, I decided to choose it for review anyway, and I am quite happy that I did.

    The plot involves the Tilson family who, after becoming jaded with life in New York, decide to move upstate and buy an old house to do up. Cooper Tilson (Dennis Quaid) is a documentary maker, who has mostly taken care of the children up until now. His wife, Leah (Sharon Stone), is a successful executive in a sales role which she agrees to give up. They have two children, a young teenage girl and a slightly younger boy (around 10). They inspect and buy an old house called Cold Creek Manor near a small town called Bellingham. The town is not particularly welcoming to newcomers as the family quickly realise. The other important characters whom they meet are Ruby (Juliette Lewis), who works at the local petrol station/bar/diner/general store and Dale Massey (Stephen Dorff), the son of the previous owner of the house, who has just been released from jail. His father (Christopher Plummer) is confined to bed in a nursing home. I will not give away any more of the plot but suffice it to say that the tension builds slowly until about the 45 minute mark and then really takes off after a creepy scene involving wildlife. Animals actually play quite a large part in the plot of this film and during the commentary the director goes out of his way to point out that no animals were hurt during the production.

   This is a well-made film, with excellent tension, suspense and solid acting from the whole cast including the children. A special mention should be made of Christopher Plummer who is excellent as the bedridden nasty old man who used to own the house. He is obviously better known to the world as the father in The Sound of Music, a fact which the director mentions he was told not to bring up with Plummer. Dennis Quaid does a good job as the father trying to protect his family, however, Sharon Stone looks pale and drawn throughout the film. This is the first film she made after having a stroke.

    So, taking everything I have mentioned so far into account, why did this movie fail to inspire the filmgoing public and not receive a theatrical release here? The answer is originality, I believe. Even though this film is well made, has excellent production values, a good cast and a well known director, there is nothing about the screenplay which is particularly innovative. The goodies and baddies are easy to pick from very early in the film and you pretty much anticipate everything that occurs. The ending is very clichéd and you will certainly have seen it before. We have seen many more innovative thrillers in recent times, such as Identity, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and others. I know that we cannot expect every new thriller to break boundaries like those did, but this is the only reason I can see why this film did poorly. I have also read, subsequent to seeing the film that the trailer released in the US (which is not on this disc) gave the impression that this was a haunted house supernatural thriller. I can see where this would have disappointed fans of that genre who paid to see this film at the cinema.

    Overall, if you are a fan of the psychological thriller genre, you will enjoy this film, despite its predictability.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good with only minor issues.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. There was, however, some light grain in some scenes and occasionally the picture was slightly unfocussed. I believe this was a stylistic choice rather than a problem with the DVD. Shadow detail was excellent with night scenes showing all required details.

    The colour was very good throughout with all colours being well saturated and free from colour bleeding. The skin colouring was very natural. The colour palette used is generally on the dark side with mostly browns, tan and similar colours. Much of the action also occurs at night, which obviously reduces the need for vibrant colours.

    I only noticed two minor artefacts during the film. At 0:20 there was some minor aliasing on a building and during a scene from 12:06 to 12:20 there is a strange opaque dot or smudge visible in the middle of the screen. I am not sure what this is but it really isn't a big problem. I probably only noticed it because I was on the lookout for video imperfections.

    There are subtitles in eight European languages including English and also English for the Hearing Impaired. There is also subtitling for the commentary stream in the same languages. The English subtitles were easy to read and very close to the spoken words.

    This is a dual layered disc and the layer change is well placed and not terribly distracting at 74:25.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is excellent and makes good use of all 6 speakers.

    This DVD contains three normal audio options including an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 Kb/s and the same in Portuguese. An extra audio track is also available in English and is a feature I have not seen before on a DVD. It is called a descriptive audio track and seems to be designed for those with impaired vision. It is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kb/s. It features a man with a very upper crust English accent explaining what is going on when the onscreen characters are not talking. He does this with minimal emotion. I think this is an excellent innovation and may allow people who have never watched a movie to at least be able to experience some of the pleasure that we take for granted. His description of the one sex scene in the movie is very amusing.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.    

    There were no noticeable problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film is written by the director, Mike Figgis, and is excellent. He has written scores for other films and discusses his compositions during the commentary. The score is very evocative and enhances the tension and creepiness of the scenes where it features. There are also some songs used including On the Road Again by the great Canned Heat.

    The surround speakers were used regularly throughout the production for directional effects such as aeroplanes landing from outside, the sound of aeroplane engines from inside, a truck chase scene and rain.

    The subwoofer was used regularly for effects and to enhance the bass of the score.


Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menus are interestingly designed and easy to use. They include motion and music and sounds from the score. They use motifs from the film itself in their design and are some of the more interesting menus I have seen.

Featurette - Cooper's Documentary (7:12)

    This featurette is about Dennis Quaid's character and the fact that he is a documentary maker. It is quite interesting and discusses how the various pieces of Digital Video footage used in the film were recorded. Mike Figgis is a documentary maker himself, so this subject is close to his heart. The featurette includes interviews with Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone and the director.

Featurette - Rules of the Genre (7:58)

    This is basically a making-of featurette in which Mike Figgis explains what he sees to be the rules of the thriller genre in which he was working. These include compression of the story, a dynamic tempo and not allowing the audience to be too far ahead of the characters. This is a worthwhile featurette.

Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending (24:00)

    You can play these scenes individually or play all either with or without interspersed comments from Mike Figgis. The disc refers to this as commentary but in fact they are comment snippets played between the scenes. This is quite an interesting set of deleted scenes mostly removed for pacing reasons or due to reactions at test screenings. The most interesting scene is an extended pool game between Cooper Tilson and Dale Massey at the local bar. I can understand why it was cut but it is still a good scene. The alternate ending was a VERY bad idea and I am glad that it was not included in the movie. There are seven deleted scenes (not including the alternate ending) in total.

Feature Commentary - Mike Figgis

    Whether you like this commentary will depend upon what you want commentaries to be. During the commentary, Mike Figgis discusses many aspects of the filmmaking process including location scouting, editing and scene selection, test screening, logistics, music, casting and stylistic choices. If you are interested in the filmmaking process, listen to this commentary you will find it interesting. If you want commentaries to be light and include lots of jokes this may not be your cup of tea.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of this film seems to be exactly the same as our release with the exception of PAL/NTSC and different language options. (Region 1: French, Region 4: Spanish, Portuguese & Descriptive Audio).


    This disc contains a well made but unoriginal psychological thriller.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The disc has a good selection of interesting extras including a feature I have not seen before - descriptive audio.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, June 19, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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