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Review: The Stepfather

The Stepfather
10.17.2009
5 10

Plot: 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 don’t know is that David’s already been married several times, with him killing the members of each family once the relationships go sour.

Review: Before reviewing THE STEPFATHER, I should admit something; I’ve 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 that’s wrong with horror films today- it’s 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) isn’t bad in the title role, although I imagine he’s nowhere near as scary as Terry O’Quinn was in the original. Sela Ward is also pretty good as his wife, although she plays such an unbelievably naïve, 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. The screening I attended was full of his fans, who hooted and hollered every time he got his shirt off (which was often- easily half of his screen time). Badgley doesn’t have much in the way of presence, although having never seen a single episode of GOSSIP GIRL, I can’t really judge whether or not he’s 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 didn’t mind one bit, and saved the film from being a total loss.


However, despite all the Amber Heard flesh on display, I still can’t 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 he’s 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 wasn’t 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).

I really didn’t get a heck of a lot of enjoyment out of STEPFATHER, and I can understand why this wasn’t screened for critics, as it’s 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 who’ll 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.

Grade: 5/10

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Source: JoBlo.com

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