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The Stepfather
BLU-RAY disk
02.17.2010 By: Chris Bumbray
The Stepfather order download
Director:
Nelson McCormick

Actors:
Dylan Walsh
Penn Badgely
Sela Ward
Amber Heard

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A teenaged rebel (Penn Badgley) returns home from a year in military school to discover that his recently divorced mother (Sela Ward) is engaged to a new man, David (Dylan Walsh), who seems too good to be true. What Michael and his mom donít know is that Davidís already been married several times, with him killing the members of each family once the relationships go sour.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Before reviewing THE STEPFATHER, I should admit something; Iíve never seen the original 1987 version of THE STEPFATHER. One things for sure though, it had to be better than this tepid remake, which perfectly encapsulates everything thatís wrong with horror films today- itís simply not scary, or even suspenseful. It plays everything so safely that from the second the film started, I felt I knew exactly how the film was going to play out, leaving me far from the edge of my seat throughout.

Probably the only nice thing I can write about this is that Dylan Walsh (of NIP/TUCK) isnít bad in the title role, although I imagine heís nowhere near as scary as Terry OíQuinn was in the original. Sela Ward is also pretty good as his wife, although she plays such an unbelievably naÔve, and dim-witted character that I had a hard time sympathizing with her.

Of course, the real star here is probably Penn Badgley of GOSSIP GIRL. Badgley doesnít have much in the way of presence, although having never seen a single episode of GOSSIP GIRL, I canít really judge whether or not heís actually a decent actor simply let down by the material. Amber Heard fares better as his insanely hot girl friend, who spend most of the film frolicking around in a teeny-weeny bikini- which I didnít mind one bit, and saved the film from being a total loss.

However, despite all the Amber Heard flesh on display, I still canít say I even remotely enjoyed this film, as it was completely uninspired, and was riddled with giant plot holes. For instance, at the beginning of the film, we see Walsh clean up after killing his last family, with the cops afterwards claiming at how heís brilliantly left them with no evidence. BUUUUUUUUT, we see him shave, leaving behind loads of hair, and he even cuts himself, and before leaving the crime scene, he casually chucks a blood-soaked piece of toilet paper on the ground. Thank god Dexter wasnít one the case, or he would have found himself strapped down to a table being prepped for a vivisection before long (which would have made for a much more entertaining film).

THE EXTRAS
Considering its modest success at the box office, THE STEPFATHER gets a fairly typical slate of extras, with nothing really standing out. First we get a fairly average commentary track with director Nelson McCormick, and actors Penn Badgely, and Dylan Walsh. Next up is a fairly standard EPK-style featurette, Open House: The Making of the Film , and, like most featurettes of this ilk, everyone seems convinced theyíre making a classic, although the original í87 version is referenced a few times.

After this, we get yet another bland featurette, Visualizing the Stunts , followed by a five minute Gag Reel , a trailer , and some TV spots .
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I really didnít get a heck of a lot of enjoyment out of STEPFATHER. Itís pretty bad- although probably not worse than a lot of the other similarly crappy PG-13 remakes that the multiplexes have been polluted with over the last few years (THE FOG, PROM NIGHT, etc.). The only people whoíll get any enjoyment out of this is maybe 14 year old girls with a crush on Badgley- everyone else should steer clear, and rent the original instead.
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