July 20, 2011

The Stepfather (2009)



"Michael returns home from military school to find his mother happily in love and living with her new boyfriend. As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand."

There's nothing like a remake of a film that I didn't really care about all that much to begin with to really upset the applecart when I review it. Even though the original version of "The Stepfather" from 1987 starred Terry O'Quinn, who I think was excellent as John Locke in "Lost", I didn't get much out of it and I was bored by the 1989 sequel. Having the remake star yet another of my favourite actors, Dylan Walsh from "Nip/Tuck" (my favourite TV series), was just plain mean.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this since it's a remake and nobody reads my longer posts anyway. Suffice it to say that although this was little more than Sean McNamara gone very bad, it's still a great performance from Dylan Walsh and PG-13 rated horror movie fans won't be at all disappointed.

I was quite surprised at just how far the PG-13 rating could be extended as there were some very adult situations and intense scenes in this which I really don't think that little kids should be watching. The adults had way too many problems going on which kids wouldn't understand and the "kids" in this film were not good role models either as they were all really dumb. I'm not entirely sure who the intended audience really was.

If there was ever a film where you really wanted the killer to get away with it, this was the one and I'm pleased to say that he pretty much did. I didn't care one iota for David Harris' new family and felt that they deserved everything that was happening to them. I really liked their house though. In fact, I felt more sympathy for the house than any of the other wooden characters.

The only major disappointments I had with "The Stepfather" were that it had no real atmosphere or suspense and scenes which should have had a lot more tension to them simply didn't. It all looks and feels like a TV movie rather than a theatrical release.

The kills were too few, unoriginal and not nearly gory enough for me although I will admit that they were more probably more realistic that way. This was obviously to do with keeping the movie inside the PG-13 rating which is a shame considering that the original was very much an R. The scene with the saw in the trailer is completely different in the film so this is another occasion where, if I had seen the trailer first, I would have been very annoyed with the final cut.

Anyway, I'm rating "The Stepfather" as above average. It's not a great movie or quite as good as the '80s version but it's a nice update and more "The Stepfather 3" than a discernible attempt to wipe the original from anyone's memory.

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