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Michael Harding returns home from military school to find his mother happily in love and living with her new boyfriend, David. As the two men get to know each other, Michael becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand. Is he really the man of her dreams or could David be hiding a dark side? Written by
David Harris (Dylan Walsh) has tried to make his family work, but it just wasn't going to happen. So he kills them and starts over in a new town. But it's never that simple, is it? Will this new family work or will the killing have to start all over again? Like many other recent horror films (at least a dozen in the past year), this is a remake. And I loved the original, a powerhouse lead by the undefeatable Terry O'Quinn ("Lost") with 1980s scream queen Jill Schoelen ("Popcorn"). So, needless to say, I liked the original better... but the remake still has something to offer.
Dylan Walsh does a fine job and is more than good enough trying to be creepy and comforting at the same time. Sela Ward, his wife, seemed lacking and was probably the weakest character in the story. The son, Michael (Miley Cyrus' crush, Penn Badgley), was respectable and a strong supporting lead (though not Jill Schoelen). And his girlfriend (Amber Heard)... well, someone needs to tell me why she was always in a bikini or her underwear. That chick needs to eat a sandwich.
For being PG-13, the suspense and thrills were very nice. There was a cat fake-out, and even with one scene cut (it contains a buzzsaw... watch for it on DVD) there was some good, old-fashioned butt-kicking. And, like any modern horror film, they had to take technology into account -- cell phones and the Internet were utilized as part of the plot. I don't happen to think the "America's Most Wanted" sketch looked like David Harris, but that's forgivable.
I don't know what to make of the lesbian subplot... that requires a second viewing or a commentary track to explain.
You must see the original, but this isn't a bad film, either. And if you're younger and maybe not ready for full blown horror (although I don't think any age is too young), this is a good stepping stone. Just turn off your ears before the horrifyingly bad remake of The Turtles' "Happy Together" in the closing credits. I like Filter, but this song fails.
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