Emerging from his much-trumpeted 'experimental' stage (Timecode, Hotel) like a frizzy-haired Steven Soderbergh, Mike Figgis cosies back up to the mainstream with a by-the-numbers, join-the-dots Cape Fear knock-off.
Jaded urbanites Cooper and Leah Tilson (Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone) haul themselves - and two standard-issue teens - out to rural New York where they take on a big old "fixer-upper" of a house and, despite the creepy omens, hire ex-owner Dale (Stephen Dorff) to spruce it up. Problem: Dale is a loony who, Scooby Doo-style, wants to force the Tilsons out in order to keep a deep, dark secret buried forever. And so forth.
Featuring a scrappy script and cipher characters who only exist to serve a laughable plot, this hops from cliché to cliché right up to the final, rain-soaked confrontation on top of a purpose-built roof. Fine if it had come out a decade ago, in the shadow of Pacific Heights. Now it just feels like a rent-payer from a director who can - and will - do better.
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