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Cold Creek Manor

Cold Creek Manor

2003

In the depths of rural New York, the Tilson family flees urban chaos for a repossessed mansion, only to uncover the dark legacy of their new home. As terrifying events unfold, they unravel the sinister past of Cold Creek Manor, forcing them to confront the evil that lurks beneath its crumbling facade.

Runtime: 118 min

Box Office: $29M

Language:

Directors:

Ratings:

Metacritic

37

Metascore

7.4

User Score

Metacritic
review

12%

TOMATOMETER

review

23%

User Score

Metacritic

5.0 /10

IMDb Rating

Metacritic

54.0

%

User Score

Check out what happened in Cold Creek Manor!

As dawn breaks over the concrete jungle of New York City, Leah Tilson (Sharon Stone) stirs from her slumber, the soft glow of morning illuminating her tranquil expression. Her husband, Cooper Tilson (Dennis Quaid), gently reminds her to reset the alarm clock, ensuring they don't miss a crucial moment in their chaotic daily routine. As the couple navigates the demands of parenting their 13-year-old daughter Kristen (Kristen Stewart) and 12-year-old son Jesse (Ryan Wilson), the delicate balance between work, family, and personal life begins to fray.

Meanwhile, Leah soars through the skies, en route to a business trip, her professional attire a testament to her dedication to her career. As she engages in a conversation with her boss, Dave Miller (Peter Outerbridge), he presents her with an offer that raises the stakes: a promotion to company vice president hinges on her willingness to indulge his desires.

Back in New York, Cooper's morning is marred by oversleeping, courtesy of Leah's forgetfulness. Panicked and pressed for time, he scrambles to get the kids ready for school as they worry about being late. The family's morning routine is further disrupted by a traffic jam, with horns blaring and children bickering in the backseat as Cooper attempts to navigate the chaos on his cell phone.

As the day wears on, Kristen and Jesse decide to walk to school from their stalled vehicle, unaware of the impending danger that awaits them. Jesse's impulsive decision to dart into the street proves fatal, as an impatient driver swerves around a halted Jeep Cherokee, leaving the young boy shaken but thankfully unharmed.

Later that evening, Leah returns home, her relief at Jesse's safe return palpable. Cooper and Leah concur that their chaotic urban lifestyle has become unsustainable, and they begin making plans to escape the city's frenetic pace. As they prepare for a new chapter in their lives, the family embarks on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

Their journey takes them down dusty country roads, where they stop at Pinski's, a rustic gas station-turned-diner that serves as a beacon of comfort and respite from their urban woes. Ruby (Juliette Lewis), an enigmatic attendant with a flirtatious air, refills their tank and sets the stage for Cooper's subtle admiring gaze. As the Tilsons discuss their housing options, Kristen and Jesse pose the question on everyone's mind: how many homes must they view before finding their perfect fit?

As Ruby inquires about their origins and destination, the Tilsons reveal they hail from New York City and are embarking on a quest to claim Cold Creek Manor, a repossessed estate rumored to be located just down the road. The puzzled expression on Ruby's face is soon replaced by concern as she notifies them that the manor lies mere miles away. Upon arriving at the property, they find it shrouded in mystery, with its once-grand facade now overgrown and weathered, a testament to the passage of time. A cursory glance around the perimeter reveals a dilapidated swimming pool, stagnant and murky, as if reflecting the turmoil that has beset this forsaken place.

As they cautiously make their way inside, the Tilsons are struck by the eerie silence and the lingering remnants of former occupants, left untouched for who knows how long. Beds lie unmade, dishes clutter the sink, and family heirlooms and relics from a bygone era litter the space. It is as if the house itself is a tomb, entombing the memories and secrets of those who once called it home.

Their snooping expedition is abruptly halted by the unexpected arrival of Sheriff Annie Ferguson (Dana Eskelson), whose presence serves only to underscore the sense of foreboding that permeates this forsaken mansion. The Tilsons' apology is met with a knowing glance, as if the sheriff is well aware that the house's secrets are not meant for prying eyes.

The family ultimately decides to purchase the property, opting to preserve its contents and all the mysteries they hold. As they settle into their new home, they begin the arduous task of sorting through the remnants of a life left behind. Pawnbrokers hover outside, eager to capitalize on the Tilsons' unwanted treasures.

Cooper, ever the documentarian, has taken it upon himself to compile a history of Cold Creek Manor. Utilizing his high-tech Macintosh computer, he meticulously digitizes every artifact, photograph, and newspaper clipping that might shed light on this enigmatic estate's storied past. His findings include cryptic images of a young boy, a teenage girl, and the woman who once called this place home - a collection so private that Cooper feels compelled to conceal certain... sensitive materials from Leah.

Meanwhile, Jesse stumbles upon the bedroom of the young boy who once resided here, Grady, his name emblazoned on a silk coat and camouflaged hat. Donning the attire, Jesse becomes an unwitting participant in the story of this long-abandoned place, as if he has finally found a piece of himself within its crumbling walls.

As Jesse delves deeper into the mysterious world of Cold Creek Manor, she stumbles upon Grady's construction paper book, filled with eerie illustrations and cryptic poetry. The haunting words "Hammerhead will bash in your face, and throw you down devil's throat" seem to sear themselves into her psyche as she ponders the author's identity. Presumably penned by Grady himself, Jesse becomes fixated on the poem, re-reading it with an increasing sense of unease.

Meanwhile, the Tilson family is making a concerted effort to settle into their new home, forging bonds with their eccentric neighbors at Pinskis's. There, they meet Ruby, who serves as waitress and unwitting confidante, as well as Ray Pinski and his wife Ellen, whose daughter Stephanie shares a birthday bond with Kristen. The Tilsons' generosity is rewarded when they surprise Kristen with her own horse, Chester, which elicits a beaming response from the young girl.

As the family's happiness appears to be on the upswing, Jesse's keen eye spots a stranger lurking around Cooper's den, rummaging through memorabilia and fiddling with computer files. Her warning to Cooper prompts him to rush to the scene, where he meets Dale Massie, a disheveled and uninviting individual sporting a trucker hat and sporting a rough demeanor. Despite his unkempt appearance, Dale spins a tale of woe, revealing that he was once a resident of Cold Creek Manor before his marriage failed, leaving him bankrupt.

Dale's presence is marked by an unsettling loudness, as he devours dinner with the Tilsons and displays a brazen disregard for social niceties. His pleas for employment and assistance are met with reluctant agreement from the family, who are wary of his rough edges. Little do they know that Dale's true nature will soon be revealed, as it becomes apparent that he has developed an unsettling rapport with Ruby.

As the days pass, Kristen cannot help but notice the discomforting aura surrounding Dale, a feeling that is later validated when it is discovered that he is embroiled in a tumultuous sexual relationship with Ruby. The revelation sends shockwaves through the household, casting a dark shadow over what had initially seemed like a tranquil and idyllic existence at Cold Creek Manor.

As the days unfold, Dale and his hired hands delve into the pool's renovation, prompting Dale to seek financial assistance from Cooper for the necessary pump parts. This leads to an unexpected inquiry from Cooper, who zeroes in on a peculiar collection of tools within the den. Dale's explanation that these are sheep hammers, designed by his grandfather in collaboration with a blacksmith, sparks curiosity about their intended purpose: instantaneously killing sheep.

The significance of these tools is not lost on Cooper, as he notes one hammer is missing from the cabinet. Meanwhile, Dale becomes aware that Cooper has stumbled upon a stash of nude photographs. Though visibly displeased, Dale chooses to walk away rather than confront the issue.

As the pool reaches completion, the children frolic within its waters, while Dale patrols the perimeter with his shirt off, showcasing his enviable physique. He observes Leah joining the kids in the pool, his gaze lingering behind the foliage.

Later, a commotion erupts as the youngsters begin screaming, prompting Cooper to rush to the pool and find Dale calmly holding a snake that had slithered into the water. The children are thrilled by Dale's nonchalance towards the reptile, whereas Cooper exhibits a fleeting moment of trepidation upon being shown the snake.

In the aftermath, Cooper seeks out Ferguson, inquiring about Dale's past and the fate of his father, Theodore Massie (Christopher Plummer). Ferguson reveals that three years prior, Dale was involved in a car accident that resulted in the death of another individual, leading to a manslaughter conviction. Currently, Theodore resides in a Greensville nursing home, where he is cared for by staff and visited by Cooper, who is documenting Cold Creek Manor's history.

During this visit, Cooper learns that Theodore is not only elderly and frail but also prone to speaking in his sleep. As the nurse leads Cooper to Theodore's bedside, the elderly man's slumbered musings take an unexpectedly harsh tone, labeling Dale as a "good-for-nothing, rotten little b*st*rd."

As Theodore's eyes flutter open, Cooper (actor name) urges him to awaken, dispelling any lingering fog from his subconscious. With a gentle firmness, Cooper clarifies his identity, shattering the notion that he is Dale, and expresses a desire to pose a few queries to Theodore. The latter obliges, recounting the erstwhile grandeur of Cold Creek Manor, where 20,000 sheep roamed freely before the devastating scourge of hoof-and-mouth disease necessitated the brutal culling of half their number. With a mixture of disdain and disgust, Theodore reveals that Dale lacked the fortitude to undertake this gruesome task, attributing his weakness to the questionable maternal influence he received from a woman whose profession was less than reputable.

Theodore's ire begins to simmer as he recounts the dire consequences of Dale's cowardice, which ultimately led to the demise of his wife Lorna, daughter Tammy, and son Grady. As Theodore's anger reaches a boiling point, Cooper seizes the opportunity to exit the scene, capturing every moment on video for posterity.

Meanwhile, an unsuspecting nurse breaks the news to Theodore that the Tilsons have acquired Cold Creek Manor, leaving him stunned and disbelieving. Back at the manor, Jesse becomes increasingly fixated with a peculiar poem he discovered in Grady's book, which he recites repeatedly, much to the chagrin of those around him. As he begins to emulate his deceased friend's mannerisms and attire, Kristen seeks solitude in the woods, only to stumble upon a hauntingly carved wooden plank bearing the ominous message "EVIL."

Kristen's trepidation grows as she and Jesse return to the house with Chester, only to discover that their haven is now overrun by an assortment of snakes, including venomous species like rattlesnakes. Initially, no one detects the reptilian invasion, but Cooper's unfortunate encounter with a serpent sets off a chain reaction of panic.

As the family flees to the rooftop in disarray, Dale arrives on the scene in his pickup truck, offering words of reassurance as he helps extricate the snakes from the premises. Though Cooper remains skeptical of Dale's motives, the rest of the family is overjoyed to have their nemesis removed from the equation. As they gather for lunch, Dale engages in a heated conversation with some of the hired hands outside before reentering the manor and delivering an ultimatum to Cooper: "A real man would've fired you face-to-face."

As night falls, Cooper finds himself at Pinski's, stocking up on milk, when he stumbles upon an unexpected gathering of Dale and Ruby inside. Ray, ever the shrewd strategist, advises Cooper to treat everyone to a round of drinks, a move designed to ease tensions between Cooper and Dale, and demonstrate a willingness to put past conflicts behind them. Reluctantly, Cooper agrees, and before long, a tipsy Ruby sidles up to him, demanding four shots of vodka. The two share a pair of shots each, while Dale, ever the enigmatic figure, lurks in the background, eyeing Cooper with a mixture of curiosity and hostility.

Ruby's whispers in Cooper's ear are laced with warnings, cautioning him against crossing paths with Dale, whom she dubs "a bad*ss." Her words are punctuated by a sultry kiss to his ear, before Dale himself saunters over, shot glasses at the ready. As they clink their glasses together, Cooper confronts Dale about the snakes that had invaded their home, prompting Dale to dare him to prove it. The tension is palpable as Dale issues an ominous warning: Cooper, Leah, and the kids would do well to leave Cold Creek Manor behind.

As the night wears on, Cooper's words are laced with a promise of violence should Dale ever threaten his family again. Ferguson, quietly observing from the periphery, bears witness to the threat. Her presence seems to galvanize Dale, who returns to his pool game, leaving Ruby to nurse her wounded nose and bleeding lip.

The fragile peace is shattered when Dale and Ruby engage in a heated brawl, with Dale punching anyone who dares to intervene. Cooper rushes to Ruby's aid, sparking a fierce fight between the two men. Ferguson intervenes, brandishing her gun as Ruby attempts to calm the situation, revealing that she'd fallen, not been hit by Dale.

With the chaos subsiding, Cooper and Dale part ways, leaving behind a trail of destruction and tension. As Cooper drives home down the dirt road, he's unaware of Dale's intentions until the latter begins tailing him in his pickup truck. The chase is short-lived, however, as something jumps into the path of Cooper's SUV, sending it careening off course. Stopping to survey the damage, Cooper discovers a family of deer, their bodies strewn across the road.

A shaken Cooper continues on his way, leaving Dale and the darkness behind. When he finally arrives home, he finds his family in disarray, the pool area shrouded in an eerie cloud of blood and Chester's lifeless body floats to the surface, a grim reminder that some secrets are better left buried.

As Kristen's anxiety reaches a fever pitch, she accuses Cooper of vehicular homicide, convinced that he struck Chester while under the influence. Cooper's calm demeanor and reassuring words help to ease Kristen's concerns, but the family ultimately sides with him in his suspicion that Dale was responsible for Chester's untimely demise.

Meanwhile, Dale's world begins to unravel as he encounters Theodore's nurse, who informs him that Theodore is recovering well, but not pleased about someone else acquiring Cold Creek Manor. This news sends Dale into a tailspin, as he realizes Cooper has been visiting Theodore behind his back. His agitation reaches a boiling point when he storms over to the nursing home, seeking answers from Theodore.

The encounter quickly turns toxic, with Theodore launching a scathing attack on Dale's character, labeling him a worthless liar and a son of a...whore. He reveals that Dale lost Cold Creek Manor due to his own ineptitude and inability to keep his family together. Theodore then drops a bombshell, claiming he knows the truth about Dale's involvement in the deaths of Lorna, Tammy, and Grady, as well as Dale's true parentage.

As Theodore continues to taunt him, Dale becomes increasingly unhinged, ultimately resorting to violence when he suffocates his tormentor with a wet washcloth. In a chilling confession, Dale reveals that he murdered Lorna due to her perceived promiscuity and took out Tammy and Grady because they were an obstacle to his own desires.

The Tilson family is left reeling as they try to process the events of the day at Pinski's diner. However, their evening is disrupted once again when Dale bursts in, seeking to stir up trouble among the locals. He accuses the Tilsons of stealing his property and warns Cooper that he will stop at nothing to reclaim Cold Creek Manor.

Just as tensions seem to be reaching a boiling point, Ruby arrives on the scene, informing Leah that Cooper has made a pass at her. This new development sets Ruby off, and she demands a fight with Leah. Dale, however, sees only one enemy: Cooper. As Jesse exits the diner, he recites the haunting poem from Grady's book, "Hammerhead will bash your skull and send you to devils throat." The words strike a chord deep within Dale, causing him to pause and reassess his actions.

In response to this new information, Cooper decides that it would be best for Leah and the kids to return to the city for a short time, allowing him to gather evidence against Dale. His goal is to put an end to the Tilson's terrorization at the hands of their nemesis, once and for all.

As Cooper stands at the edge of the driveway, bidding farewell to Leah and their children as they depart for New York, his attention is piqued by a peculiar discovery - a plastic blue retainer, accompanied by a ghastly reminder of the dark truth. The remnants of Tammy's dental appliance, coupled with the unsettling presence of several teeth, reveal to Cooper that Lorna, Tammy, and Grady did not abandon Dale as previously thought, but rather met their demise at his hands.

As Cooper delves deeper into the mystery, he unearths a series of maps detailing the property, leading him on a search for the ominous 'Devil's Throat' location. His investigation takes him to an old rusted car, where he claims the license plates as further evidence against Dale. With his findings in hand, Cooper presents them to Sheriff Ferguson, who while acknowledging the compelling nature of the evidence, remains skeptical due to its circumstantial nature.

Ferguson does, however, grant Cooper a walkie-talkie on a secure channel, allowing him to maintain a private line of communication with her should he uncover any additional incriminating information. As night falls and a thunderstorm rages outside, Cooper's thoughts turn to Jesse's cryptic outburst at Pinski's, prompting him to instruct Leah to ask Jesse about the poem he recited with such fervor.

As the storm intensifies, Cooper's call to Leah is suddenly cut off, leaving her in the dark. It is then that Kristen and Jesse reveal the chilling significance of the poem - a haunting passage found in Grady's book. Meanwhile, Ferguson sits in her office, oblivious to the turmoil unfolding outside as she receives Cooper's urgent transmission on the walkie-talkie.

In the midst of this tumultuous night, Cooper finds himself descending into the basement, driven by an insatiable hunger for truth and justice. As he digs through the shadows, his fists fly blindly, striking out in the darkness without hesitation or regard for the identity of his target. The uncertainty is palpable as Cooper faces the very real possibility that he may be confronting none other than Dale himself.

As Cooper parts the drapery, he's met with an unexpected sight - Leah, her features sullied by a recent blow, slowly regaining consciousness. His apologies are quickly swallowed up in her revelation: she'd braved treacherous roads, racking up two speeding tickets, to impart crucial information - the location of Devil's Throat, a mystery Cooper had been desperate to unravel. Meanwhile, Ruby finds herself stuck at the sheriff's station, waiting for Ferguson's return. The secretary's assurances that he must have stepped out only serve to heighten Ruby's frustration as she watches the storm rage on outside.

Back in the woods, Leah and Cooper stumble upon an ancient well, its ominous name - Devil's Throat - a harbinger of the horrors that lie within. As they prepare to lower their video camera into the depths, the tension builds, and with it, the anticipation of what terrors might be lurking beneath the surface. The footage they recover is nothing short of devastating: the remains of Lorna, Tammy, and Grady are starkly visible on the tape, a grim reminder that the darkness they're facing is all too real.

As Cooper frantically tries to raise Ferguson on their walkie-talkie, Leah's attention is drawn to the eerie silence emanating from within the well. It's as if she can sense the presence of something malevolent lurking just out of reach. Little do they know, Ruby has stumbled upon a ghastly discovery in Ferguson's office - his lifeless body, twitching and bleeding, another victim of Dale's gruesome game.

As the night wears on, Cooper's efforts to improve their radio reception are met with failure, leaving him feeling helpless as he gazes out into the storm. Leah, meanwhile, is drawn back to the well, where she's confronted by a shocking sight: Dale, resplendent in his sheriff's uniform, pushes her into the dark depths.

Leah's fall is a slow-motion nightmare as she plunges into the water, surrounded by the cold, lifeless bodies of their friends. Cooper's frantic sprint through the darkness is motivated by a single-minded desire to rescue Leah from the clutches of death. As he pulls her out of the well, Leah's words - "Dale is still out there" - serve as a stark reminder that their fight is far from over.

The pair makes a desperate bid for shelter in the nearby house, only to find it dark and uninviting. The Jeep Cherokee, once their symbol of hope, now lies in ruins, its destruction a grim testament to Dale's malevolence. As they cower in fear, awaiting the inevitable, Dale bursts into the room, his eyes blazing with an unholy intensity.

Their desperate bid for survival takes them up to the rooftop, where Cooper's quick thinking and resourcefulness are put to the ultimate test as he fends off Dale's attacks with a makeshift arsenal of roof tiles. One particularly well-placed throw finds its mark on Dale's skull, leaving him reeling. The two enemies engage in a brutal struggle, their movements choreographed by the relentless rhythm of the rain.

As the battle rages on, Cooper finds himself pinned beneath Dale's crushing weight, his world reduced to a blur of pain and fear. And yet, even as Dale raises the hammer, ready to deliver the final blow, Cooper refuses to yield, his spirit unbroken despite the overwhelming odds against him.

As Dale's primal cries for the return of his home reverberate through the air, he brandishes a desperate warning: the Tilsons will embark on a perilous journey down Devil's throat, just as Lorna and her children had done before. However, Cooper and Leah are not about to let Dale dictate their actions. With swift and calculated precision, they ensnare him in a rope, rendering him powerless as they secure him to the skylight above.

Dale's grip on the sheep hammer begins to falter as he realizes his predicament. It is then that Cooper seizes the opportunity, grasping the hammer with calculated intent. The sharp end of the tool proves particularly effective in delivering a merciless blow to Dale's groin, followed by another swift strike. With Leah's implicit consent, Cooper unleashes one final, decisive blow, sending Dale crashing through the glass skylight and onto the floor below.

As fate would have it, Dale's precipitous descent is not without consequence. He falls through yet another skylight before finally coming to rest on the unforgiving floor, his life extinguished in an instant. Time passes, and the scene shifts to Ruby as she tenders a floral tribute to Dale's memory at the Massie family cemetery, nestled within the tranquil grounds of Cold Creek Manor.

Meanwhile, Kristen and Jesse are indulging in carefree revelry by the pool, their laughter carrying on the breeze. Leah stands watchful vigil by the window, her countenance aglow with warmth as she surveys the restored beauty of the house and yard. With a sense of closure, Cooper steps inside the manor, the weight of recent events slowly giving way to a newfound sense of peace.