This is a brief study in logic. Occam’s Razor postulates that of all available possibilities, whichever is the least ridiculous is probably the right one. Sherlock Holmes postulates that when everything impossible is removed from the scene, whatever’s still hanging around has got to be the truth. Schroedinger postulates that a cat can be a zombie. Today’s film of choice is a “psychological thriller” under the guise of Cold Creek Manor. I’ve come to the conclusion that a “psychological thriller” is in fact a horror movie with everything good removed from it.
CCM is the story of a frustrated family of New Yorkers, who, upon their young son being ploughed by an SUV in the city, decide to move to the country. Where SUVs are less prevalent. Or something.
So, Irritating Video Journalist Daddy packs up Sleeping With Colleague Mummy, Overdeveloped Teenage Daughter and Annoying Young Son and heads off to purchase a piece of prize real estate in the form of Cold Creek Manor.
Having moved in to their new home, IVJ Daddy and AY Son start snooping about and find a bundle of curious evidence about the previous owners, including a scrapbook created by the previous owner’s child, laden with dodgy imagery and even worse poetry about demons, and a bunch of polaroid photos of what I assume to have been the previous owner’s wife with her wobbly bits awobble.
To cut a long, tedious and stultifyingly boring story short, previous owner shows up, hangs around, proves himself to be as dodgy as everyone suspects, becomes bad guy, tries to kill everyone.
Now. Leaps of logic.
1. Kid convinced Daddy hit horse with car.
Father, drunk from trying to butter up the locals at the saloon, drives home. Previous house owner gives chase, Daddy winds up colliding with a deer. Previous owner retreats. Next morning, kiddies wake up to find Daddy’s car is damaged, and their pet horse is dead in the swimming pool, which is in the back yard of the house, clearly flanked by the house on one side and trees and gardens on the other.
OCCAM, SHERLOCK AND SHROEDINGER AGREE: Daddy did not hit the horse, as there are clearly no skidmarks on the ground, nor is there enough room in the entire yard for Daddy to gain enough speed to collide with a horse and fling it into a swimming pool! Daddy probably hit the deer that Daddy says he hit.
MOVIEMAKERS AGREE: Daddy did not hit a deer. Daddy hit the horse. Somewhere else. Then dragged the horse’s dead carcass back to the pool and dumped it in. At night. Without making a sound. Oh, and Daddy killed the horse with an impact that was only strong enough to damage one headlight and bend his front quarterpanel a tiny bit.
ANYHOW. Second leap of logic ahoy!
Cold Creek Manor is essentially The Ring with The Ring removed. Brief synopsis:
Ring: Chick hires video journalist to discover the meaning of a videotape about a kid who was killed by her parents and dumped down a well.
Manor: Video journalist buys house then discovers previous owner killed his kids and dumped them down a well.
I digress. Second leap.
2. Thin nylon rope can lift anything!
Spoilers ahoy. Upon learning that the previous owner probably disposed of his children in a well on the property, IVJ Daddy sends his waterproof handycam down the well on a bit of bright yellow nylon shoelace. He reels in the camera and discovers their remains on the tape.
Daddy goes to the car, as far as I can tell for the sole purpose of seeing whether the tyres had been slashed (what astounding clairvoyance!) while Mummy inexplicably remains near the top of the unguarded well waving a lantern about. Previous house owner leaps from the bushes and pushes Mummy into the hole. Then, uh, disappears. For no reason I can fathom.
ANYHOW. Daddy comes to the rescue and flings the bit of nylon shoelace down the hole for Mummy to climb up on.
OCCAM, SHERLOCK AND SHROEDINGER AGREE: Nylon shoelace will not hold the weight of Sharon Stone at a length of, eh, thirty feet, probably.
MOVIEMAKERS AGREE: Sure it will. However, she’s going to mostly climb up the REALLY OBVIOUS TREE ROOTS (or “vines”, as Dennis Quaid calls them) which could have supported her without the aid of the amazingly yellow string.
Also of note is Christopher Plummer as a senile old man. Not a huge leap, there. Sorry.