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The Stepfather (2009)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Nelson McCormick

Starring:
Dylan Walsh/David
Sela Ward/Susan
Amber Heard/Kelly
Penn Badgley
4 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Young Michael (Badgley), an expert in brooding and walking around shirtless gets back home after a stint in military school to find his mum (Ward) engaged to some new dude (Walsh). Bad news I know, but the worse is; that new muchacho happens to be a serial killer, one in search of the perfect family. Guess what happens when he doesn't get what he wants? Exactly! Make room for Daddy bitches!
THE LOWDOWN
I guess I have to tell yall where I am coming from on this one before I expel my pea soup your way. I'm a huge fan of Joseph Ruben's original cult classic THE STEPFATHER (1987); in my opinion it's one of the best films of its kind. Jeff Burr's 1989 sequel THE STEPFATHER II MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY was pretty damn tight as well. Very underrated. I watch Stepfather 1 and 2 at least once a year – yup they have a special place in that slab of meat I call my heart. Love those films! The less said about the Made for TV sequel THE STEPFATHER 3 (1992) though (one that original Stepfather Terry O Quinn smartly passed on), the better. Yeesh!

So yeah, I'll sound like a broken neck here, but when I heard that they were remaking THE STEPFATHER I snapped via mucho grumbling and groaning. And when it was revealed that the dudes behind the abysmal WHEN A STRANGER CALLS and PROM NIGHT remakes (Director Nelson McCormick and screenwriter J.S. Cardone) were gonna be behind the update, I pretty much wrote the film off right there and then. To be honest, at this point, I see those guys as the Hannah Montana(s) of horror. I guess I'm just not their target audience – like…AT ALL! But hey my instincts are not always on the money as to movies so I was hoping for the best when I 69d the remake today. I came out of my hump session with it… well… read on…. I knew this was gonna be THE STEPFATHER for pussies the moment the opening kicked in with a whimper instead of a scream. The one in the original was visceral, disturbing and gory. The version found in this update was flat, carried zero impact while being dryer than Aunt Jemima with a rolled up pancake lodged up her sand-paper ass. Now don't worry, I won't spend the bulk of this review comparing this remake to its roots (I'll try) – but I'll say this now before I go on: forget this retelling and see the original instead. It will cost ya less dough and you will see a much superior film - a f*cking genre classic. All right with that out of the way lets MOVE ON!

So yeah, the movie started off on a limp note and pretty much continued on that path throughout. Now that I think about it, this update was all set up and little to no payoff. It removed everything that worked in the original, added cell phones and computers into the mix and then held back (or/and rushed through shite) like a cowardly bitch. And I'm not just talking violence here; I mean EVERYTHING.  Character development (the Stepfather in the original was actually a layered character that I sometimes felt bad for - that didn't happen here) and the outcome of some of the situations/conflicts were all slap-dashed my way. Talk about a film NOT knowing how to capitalize on what it had! Not it's potentially layered Step-Pops villain, not its could've been suspenseful scenarios (cheap boo scares don’t count), not its plot twists – NATHING! So for the bulk of the running time, I watched the average to sub par happenings on the screen with some interest but nothing ever went down to floor me, the film was just there and I was just there clocking it. Insult was added to insult when the unintentionally HILARIOUS last block kicked in. Everything came to a head and executed in such a silly and WTF awkward fashion that I laughed out loud the whole way. WOW! Pathetic! Add to the trash can the usual "characters do stupid things to serve the plot" moves, a couple of blatant plot holes, a pedestrian TV Movie of the Week visual style and a fairly grating barrage of "sell the soundtrack" pop/rock tunes (Charlie Clouser's score was wasted here - why did they even hire him) and you get...well...scratch that... I get: cash-cow-crud.

Now that's not to say it was all bad. I'll be fair here. The pace was effortless, the chain of events gripping enough, the dynamic between the main characters groovy and the performances were aced by all, specially when taking into account what the actors/actresses had to play with. Dylan Walsh was the highlight for me no doubt. He didn't have as much meat to chew on as Terry O Quinn did in the original (I so missed them basement outbursts), but he did what he could and straight up wound up being the main reason I stayed awake. His showcase was at least immensely entertaining. Moreover, you can't go wrong with so hot it should be a crime Amber Heard in a bikini, followed by Amber Heard in her undies – finished by rinse and repeat that combo over and over again. Sure, talk about a NOTHING ROLE. The dame was obviously solely there to flaunt the goods, get us dudes boning and that's it. I actually kind of felt bad for her cause she's more than a yummy trinket, she can also act her ass out (Mandy Lane anyone) but at the same time, I wasn't complaining.

So in closing, here's a glimpse at my train of thought during the STEPFATHER redux: "Its all right, no oomph here, I wanna set up a tent and live up Amber Head's ass, pretty basic directing  -  where the scares at - was this made for kids or teenagers - they're killing them pop/rock tunes - why is she doing that...dumbass - that was f*cking stupid,– I wanna watch Stepfather 1 and 2 right now instead- where the tension at - last block kicked in – they ruined the "who am I here" line...how can that happen - this final confrontation blows - that' so f*cking funny – why is Amber Heard gyrating like a fish out of a bucket...lol - end credits rolled – MEH! I'll take the 80's Terry O Quinn films over this PC overdose/made for toddlers rendition any day! BOOOOOOOO!

GORE
Much like the Prom Night remake, this one WENT OUT OF ITS WAY to not show anything. I think there's like one drop of blood in the film and it's when Step-Da-Da cuts himself shaving. Pretty sad – somebody should tell these dudes that PG 13 doesn't mean ZERO red grub! You can have SOME blood. As-is this one should have been rated PG.
T & A
According to this film, Amber Heard has only three things in her closet: a bikini, undies and a Peeping-Tom Arrow. No complaints… although a fleshed out role for the gal on top of the T and A would have been swell.
BOTTOM LINE
I could only address this THE STEPFATHER update from the point of view of a guy who's seen (countless times) and loves the original. I mean I know this story and have witnessed it done 100% right! Maybe peeps who don't know the 1987 flick will get more out of this turkey – but for me this is what I got out of it: NOT MUCH!

Allow me to vent here for a second: The original STEPFATHER owns and Hollywood knows it. So they got the remake rights, changed everything that worked in the original and pussy-fied the whole thing. Then they went out of their way to do a horror/ thriller that isn't horrific and that doesn't thrill. Is it me man? What's the motherf*cking point? A hope for a strong, teeny bop induced opening weekend aside…is there a damn point to this shitty ass filmmaking recipe? I mean did they even TRY to make a good movie here? I wouldn't know.

So in a nutshell, Dylan Walsh was fun to watch, so was Amber Heard's finely tuned derriere, the actors had good chemistry and the flick had a couple of cool moments. But if you're looking for The Stepfather done right, he isn't here, so forget about it. The original was recently re-released on DVD, go knock on its door and thank me later. He'll rock ya the way you DESERVE to be rocked! And check out the sequel while you're at it! Fun stuff! Off my soap box I hop! I hope I saved some of ya some Benjamins.
BULL'S EYE
The flick was shot in California, USA.

Penn Badgley is known cause of his role on "Gossip Girl", a TV show I am very proud to say that I have never watched.

Sela Ward didn't get a role in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) cause she was too old according to Hollywood. Hey, I'd tap it! Chick looks great to me!

STAB THE STEPFATHER SITE HERE

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11:04AM on 03/10/2010

Not as bad as i thought would be.

There is a reason why this movie is watchable... it is Dylan Walsh`s good lead performance as The Stepfather.

True, the original 1987 movie is a cult classic. Making this movie PG-13 hurts some of the effectiveness. But at least, it was better than Nelson Mc Cormick`s last movie... "Prom Night" remake.

The supporting cast were solid here Sela Ward (The Fugitive), Penn Badgley, Amber Heard (The Informers) and Paige Turco (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Part 2 and Part 3). It has some
There is a reason why this movie is watchable... it is Dylan Walsh`s good lead performance as The Stepfather.

True, the original 1987 movie is a cult classic. Making this movie PG-13 hurts some of the effectiveness. But at least, it was better than Nelson Mc Cormick`s last movie... "Prom Night" remake.

The supporting cast were solid here Sela Ward (The Fugitive), Penn Badgley, Amber Heard (The Informers) and Paige Turco (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Part 2 and Part 3). It has some suspenseful moments.

But it was the third act of the movie was disappointing. I thought the filmmakers were playing it too safe, it is kinda dumb. Because "The Stepfather" remake truly needed an harder edge.

I do love Filter song, which is a remake of the song "Happy Together" by The Turtles at the end of the movie. That was a nice touch. Overall, it`s not bad and try to watch the creepier original movie before seeing the remake.

Blu-ray version of this movie, does have some funny outtakes with Walsh are worth for a few laughs.
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9:19AM on 10/21/2009

Spitting Bullets under my reviews...

...was always meant for you to review the movie and give your own rating - not to review my review : )
...was always meant for you to review the movie and give your own rating - not to review my review : )
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9:09AM on 10/21/2009
DFens, it would appear that some see it as a way to rate the review and others the movie... perhaps a little clarification from the site would clear this up. Is the rating for the quality of the review, the quality of the movie... or... could it actually be up for the poster's choice?
DFens, it would appear that some see it as a way to rate the review and others the movie... perhaps a little clarification from the site would clear this up. Is the rating for the quality of the review, the quality of the movie... or... could it actually be up for the poster's choice?
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+0
11:27AM on 10/20/2009

Haven't Seen It. . .

. . .and don't intend to. When a trailer comes out I immediately look to the rating, and if it's supposed to be a horror/thriller flick and it gets a PG-13 then I stay away from it.

I just wish Hollywood would do the same instead of catering to the fucking Hills crowd.
. . .and don't intend to. When a trailer comes out I immediately look to the rating, and if it's supposed to be a horror/thriller flick and it gets a PG-13 then I stay away from it.

I just wish Hollywood would do the same instead of catering to the fucking Hills crowd.
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+0
4:49PM on 10/19/2009

Eh?

What's with the comments calling this film crap (which it is) but then awarding it a 4/4? I may be wrong, but surely the point of the Rating system is for us to rate the film, rather than the review?
What's with the comments calling this film crap (which it is) but then awarding it a 4/4? I may be wrong, but surely the point of the Rating system is for us to rate the film, rather than the review?
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+0
11:31AM on 10/19/2009

Great review of a very bad film!

I'm also a fan of the original, so when they were set to remake it I felt a slight pain in my sphincter. Dylan Walsh was the only highlight for me and the only reason to see this film once. The zero gore in PG-13 films just kills me, does anyone remember Temple of Doom? They were ripping out people's hearts forchristsake!! Oh, and I back you 100% on Sela Ward, she's still very sexy!
I'm also a fan of the original, so when they were set to remake it I felt a slight pain in my sphincter. Dylan Walsh was the only highlight for me and the only reason to see this film once. The zero gore in PG-13 films just kills me, does anyone remember Temple of Doom? They were ripping out people's hearts forchristsake!! Oh, and I back you 100% on Sela Ward, she's still very sexy!
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7:10AM on 10/19/2009

Nice review.

Great review, loved the fact that you tried to be constructive but kept coming back to its failings I think that shows how much from the heart the review is. I to love the original movie and I hate it when they trash a great film by churning out insulting limp remakes. Definite swerve!
Great review, loved the fact that you tried to be constructive but kept coming back to its failings I think that shows how much from the heart the review is. I to love the original movie and I hate it when they trash a great film by churning out insulting limp remakes. Definite swerve!
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11:46PM on 10/18/2009

damn....

I wish I had read this review before seeing this. But unfortunately I (literally) just got back from seeing it and while I haven't seen the original, I still agree with most of what you said arrow. The one scene with the circular saw had my hopes up but alas...nathin as you say. I'm really getting tired of these horror movies that AREN'T horror movies. My gf is a huge chicken shit when it comes to horror movies and I had a bad feeling about this movie when SHE was the one who suggested seeing
I wish I had read this review before seeing this. But unfortunately I (literally) just got back from seeing it and while I haven't seen the original, I still agree with most of what you said arrow. The one scene with the circular saw had my hopes up but alas...nathin as you say. I'm really getting tired of these horror movies that AREN'T horror movies. My gf is a huge chicken shit when it comes to horror movies and I had a bad feeling about this movie when SHE was the one who suggested seeing it. I'm going to go hunt down the original now (thanks for the tip arrow) and give it a go!
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9:38PM on 10/18/2009
Great review, I have no interest in seeing it at all. I am sick of PG-13 "horror" movie remakes. I am a HUGE horror fan and I am bemused as to the popularity of these awful remakes. And as said in this review "Why bother?" if it ain't broke don't fix it. I heard they are remaking Poltergeist now as well which has always been a fave of mine and very underrated. Someone please stop them, and stop them doing Elm Street too.....On the plus side Trick r Treat was fun, at least it was something new.
Great review, I have no interest in seeing it at all. I am sick of PG-13 "horror" movie remakes. I am a HUGE horror fan and I am bemused as to the popularity of these awful remakes. And as said in this review "Why bother?" if it ain't broke don't fix it. I heard they are remaking Poltergeist now as well which has always been a fave of mine and very underrated. Someone please stop them, and stop them doing Elm Street too.....On the plus side Trick r Treat was fun, at least it was something new.
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