Film Review - The Stepfather (2009)

Starring - Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Penn Badgley, Jon Tenney | Directed by Nelson McCormick | Sony DVD WS Unrated 102min 2009

Review By Xmortis

What is the world of cinema without a remake of a low-key horror film like "The Stepfather," right? Well in 2009 our collective dream came true. This is the last stop in the world of The Stepfather so let's see if it's as good as the original.

A family is killed on Christmas, and the man who did it has a history of preying on divorced families and killing them when the heat is turned up on him. In Portland "David" meets Susan and her kids, Sean and Beth, and they hit it off. Six months later they get engaged, and Susan's oldest son Michael comes home from military school making David's new life complete. But just when everything looks perfect David's lies start to catch up with him when he's featured on America's Most Wanted. The crazy cat lady of the neighborhood starts spreading rumors that David could be the killer, and his own lies of a family he lost in a car accident sends a warning radar to Michael. As part of his cover up, David kills the kids' real father making it look as if he really has turned on his kids and quits his job when they press into his background. Michael and his girlfriend Kelly start working together after a series of creepy moments with David, and when his brother and sister go away for camp, David's true nature is reveled. Will Michael be able to save his mom and girlfriend or will The Stepfather just kill again and move onto the next family? Watch this remake/reboot and find out!

While not a terrible film, this remake does lack the chills and thrills of the original making it a shell of what it could have been. The plot is a mix of all the other films in the original trilogy and has a young man finding clues that his perfect stepfather is anything but and is in fact a cold blooded killer hell-bent on making his ideal family. Dylan Walsh plays David, The Stepfather and does a pretty good job of playing a soulless cold blooded killer who is wrapped up in his own crazed perfect world. The only downside to his performance is the fact he does not get too crazy when times call for it, making Walsh just a so-so bad guy in a role that calls for extremes on all feelings. He is VERY lackluster in the scene where he forgets who he is playing with this family. Penn Badgley is Michael and is pretty good in the role. While a good actor, I feel he was given was very generic lines. The highlight for me was actress Amber Heard who played Kelly. While she was not given much either, she is stunning to look at. The film's gore is minimal as is the overall "horror" of this thriller. The direction of this film is pretty good, but it does seem a little long and to make the film tighter they should have made it no more then 90 minutes long. The ending is terrible and while this might be a spoiler, the fact The Stepfather really don't get his in the end left this feeling like a run of the mill generic thriller film that would be right at home on late night cable TV. To wrap up, this is a mediocre horror thriller remake that offered nothing new to the viewer.

The DVD has a few extras that include commentary, gag reel, making of, trailers and a featurette on the stunts.

The Stepfather is one of those film characters that could have flooded the direct to VHS/DVD market of the 90's, but didn't due to the fact he was just a normal human who kills and there is only so far you can take him. So with the original storyline three films were made and pretty much used up all the stories that could have been told. Yet many years after the third, they decided to make a remake that is just a pure recycle of the past films. While this is not a terrible film, it's one that is just bland in nature and offers nothing to the viewer that would make them want to continue watching the film. This remake is for diehard Stepfather fans and fans of cheap thrillers only.

Until part three hits DVD/Blu-Ray, this marks the end of Bloodline Video's look at The Stepfather films. So we hope you enjoyed this family drama with us and always remember no one is perfect!