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This ‘Manor’ needs major renovation

James Petrillo is a freelance writer from Glendale.

Ever fantasize about leaving behind the noise and pollution of the

city for a quiet, relaxing existence in the countryside? Just make

sure there’s better real estate available than “Cold Creek Manor.”

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Cooper Tilson (Dennis Quaid) and wife, Leah (Sharon Stone),

acquire a fixer-upper in their ill-advised haste to flee Manhattan in

this new thriller released by Touchstone Pictures.

Totally bummed is daughter Kristen (Kristen Stewart), who won’t

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surrender her precious cell phone.

Desperate for help in restoring the decaying mansion, Cooper hires

Dale (Stephen Dorff), a sinister ex-con who proceeds to chain-smoke

joints, flirt with Leah, and menace the family with garden snakes.

Dale’s established early on in the obvious plot as the only

suspect, and Dorff’s about as scary as a junior high school bully.

His sketchy girlfriend -- played expertly by Juliette Lewis -- evokes

more chills.

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Quaid barely registers rage, Stone’s part is thankless and

Christopher Plummer is underused as Dale’s abusive father.

Quite engaging, though, is Stewart, who played Jodie Foster’s

daughter in “Panic Room.” Her sullen teenage glares of disapproval

over Cold Creek Manor mirror those of the audience during the weak

and powerless finale.

* “Cold Creek Manor” is rated R for violence, language and some

sexuality.

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