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The Stepfather
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Stepfather More at IMDbPro »

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39 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

Doesn't have the subtlety of the original but still an enjoyable remake

6/10
Author: BernardoPinto from Portugal
10 January 2010

"The Stepfather" is a remake of the 1987 cult classic by the same name staring Terry O'Quinn. The story begins with Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) returning home from military school to find his mother (Sela Ward) happily in love and living with her new boyfriend, David (Dylan Walsh). 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 who he says he is or could David be hiding a dark side ? Along with his girlfriend Kelly (Amber Heard), his father Jay (Jon Tenney), and Susan's friends (Paige Turco and Sherry Stringfield), they slowly start to piece together the mystery of the man who is set to become his stepfather, but they may be too late in getting to the truth... In the last decade we've witnessed a lot of remakes and spin offs, most of them unnecessary, and that's the case with this film. And the reason why it is unnecessary, is because it doesn't add anything to the original besides a groovy soundtrack. The film doesn't really have a voice of its own, instead it's almost a play by play remake with a few differences to make it up to date. Despite being unnecessary, this remake is still quite enjoyable, however, it doesn't have the subtlety of the original and also Terry O'Quinn was much better as a protagonist then Dylan Walsh. O'Quinn had more charisma and delivered his lines with much more impact. And then there's a few things that drag the film down, like the sexualization of Amber Heard ( numerous shots of the young actress in her bikini and underwear, which I wouldn't mind, had it been done more tastefully instead of being a deliberate attempt to please the male audience), plus the poorly done makeovers of David and the lesbian subplot which made absolute no sense to me and seemed out of place. Despite all this, The Stepfather is still a nice little thriller and quite enjoyable, just know that the original is far better.

6/10

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37 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Amber Heard in a bikini...oh yeah...and some other stuff.

5/10
Author: carlosgateleaper from United States
29 October 2009

I have to give this movie a favorable review only because it delivered something it didn't promise and that took me by surprise. The Stepfather, as I'm sure you all know, is a remake (reboot?) of the 80's slasher series that set the tone for every darn Lifetime movie starring Valerie Bertinelli or Nancy McKeon. A desperate divorcée falls for a mysterious guy who, despite telegraphing to the audience how evil he secretly is, manages to fool his fiancée and her family into thinking that he's a swell guy....that is, until the body count starts. The plot isn't worth discussing. There's nothing here that we haven't seen before. What IS worth discussing is the director's obvious decision to exploit Amber Heard's lovely figure in one long never ending cheesecake sequence. You could make the argument that the ONLY reason this film was even made in the first place was to launch Amber into the stratosphere of blogworthy sex symbols (not unlike what Michael Bay managed to do with Megan Fox). You'll see Amber in her underwear lounging in bed, Amber in her itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini, gratuitous close-ups of her splendid anatomy, etc. This exploitation becomes so flagrant that it distracts from the story itself, which is probably a good thing. In a way the Stepfather 2009 comes off more like a 70's Drive-In flick; the kind teenagers would flock to in hopes of seeing a little skin. Maybe that was the point after all? I sure hope it was. The movie certainly doesn't deliver much else.

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48 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Cliché and predictable.

2/10
Author: K_Schafer from Milwaukee, United States
21 October 2009

I had the opportunity to see this film for free at an advanced screening last week. What I was met with was a poorly constructed and executed film. Fifteen minutes into The Stepfather I was bored and could not wait for the ending credits to roll.

Characters in this movie were poorly thought out and extremely static. The way many of them acted was so unrealistic that it was hard to watch at points. Amber Heard's character was undeveloped and pointless, merely a factor of eye-candy as she was in her underwear or a bikini for 97% of the movie. Even Sela Ward lacked in the acting category in this film.

If the stale characters weren't enough to make you grunt in agony then the plot and atmosphere was. The soundtrack was riddled with horrible music choices that clashed entirely with the mood of the movie. And the plot was extremely predictable and overdone. The Stepfather fully utilized the "dramatic music and close-to-danger" situation that results in nothing but making the viewer think something was going to actually happen.

I knew the rest of the audience attending was in agreement with my opinion of the movie as stupid plot mechanism after stupid plot mechanism continued the "thrilling suspense." People were sarcastically shouting "Oh my god!" and "Come on!" and I couldn't agree more. How many cell phones need to break to put these characters in a state of panic? How many times must the villain magically revive himself after a near-fatal beating? Yawn.

Don't see this movie. It was not worth being free, not worth the time. Best part of the movie for me? The movie theater popcorn.

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43 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

Nothing New

2/10
Author: mustluvtacos from United States
21 October 2009

I'm pretty sure this movie comes on Lifetime about three times a day. Not that there is anything wrong with re-telling an old story. I loved Christian Bale as Batman. But telling a story again in the same way as I've seen it a million times before? No likey. The biggest problem that I have with this movie is this. If there were no music in the entire movie... it would not have been remotely creepy. The only thing that seems to tip characters off that something may be awry is the ominous music in the background. There was not a single genuinely scary moment. "Oh no, my future step-father is standing in the kitchen! He must be a murderer!" Save your money, turn on Lifetime and watch the man hating gold you're already paying for.

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23 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Too much like Disturbia, but not enough to make it good

3/10
Author: Steven Long from United States
17 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This has to be the most predictable horror movie I've ever seen (and I use the word "horror" lightly). Every time there's a closeup of someone's face and the shot is slightly to one side, you can guarantee there'll be a killer behind them. When the old woman is pushed down the stairs, my whole theater laughed out loud. The fact that it wasn't enough for the kid to think his stepfather was a killer when he saw him in the basement through the vents checking his missing dad's cell phone, but when the kid himself suddenly is missing a picture he took of his stepfather on his cell phone, then it's time to freak out, because that is a sure indication a new family member is a killer.

Then there are the unnecessary shots of the young teenaged couple who always happen to be in bathing suits because I think Nelson McCormick must get off on that kind of thing. They must get sick of swimming at some point?! And of course, the ending, the wannabe "false climax." Sela Ward locks herself in the bathroom when her new husband starts coming after her with a knife, and as he's trying to bust down the door, he knocks the mirror off the door. Understandable, right? THEN he finally knocks the door in and gets in the room. Sela Ward has a piece of shattered glass in her hand and is wielding it against the much stronger, very built man who has killed numerous people before with knives. She stabs him in the neck (I have no knowledge as to how he didn't just stab her first) and he falls into the bathtub with a shard of glass protruding from his neck. She then meets with her son and her son's girlfriend in the kitchen and they decide they need to leave, when all of a sudden, BOOM: there's the killer! But wait...didn't he get stabbed in the neck? And that must've severed numerous arteries which would cause severe internal bleeding...but oh well, he's back, and with only a little splotch of blood on his neck.

And my last complaint is merely how cheap the transition from movie to credits looked. I felt like I was watching "Beverly Hills Cop": suddenly, there was a single still shot and the credits all faded in at once. And the god-awful version of that famous song by The Turtles done by Filter is playing and it just doesn't fit, and ugh.

Save the 9.50. Don't go see this film. Only way you should willingly decide to watch it is if you stream it on Netflix for FREE. Don't pay anything. Anything more than a cent is a waste on this clichéd piece of crap.

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24 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

not bad

Author: alienworlds
28 October 2009

Maybe people are expecting more and more from films-its just a movie-its not your life. I thought as something to sit down and watch for a bit it was fair game. I have a technical mind and I always think about how many times they did a certain scene or how many scenes were left on the cutting floor for the finished product. Longer than usual, it was not very bloody which was kind of a relief, and it probably had more in common with the thrillers made in the 1950s, than something out of the modern age. In real life stepfather's can be an unwelcome event, so in that sense this movie taps a vein of something unsettling in the real world. Above average acting helped.

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24 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Once again the trailer was better than the film

5/10
Author: cinevid from Streetsboro, OH
19 October 2009

Though a lot of the elements were typical and expected in this movie, it still held interest and had a few good 'gotcha' moments. However, as it neared the end, it seemed that the editor just hacked together an ending to shorten the movie down because it was in danger of actually being two hours long. In fact, one of the coolest terror scenes in the trailer was when the circular saw falls from the attic and dangles over the girlfriend, (like Vincent Price's Pit and the Pendulum) but guess what? It's NOT in the movie. I was ticked off. Now, I know some scenes are in a trailer and don't make it to the final cut, but come on! It's the last shots in the trailer and the most terrifyingly memorable! It's false advertising at it's worst! Oh well, hopefully it will be in the DVD release, making that a good reason to skip seeing it in the theaters.

Sadly the popularity of this film hinges on the reality that way too many men marry into a family and think they can have everything go their way without regard for how the children have been raised before they came along. Kids love to push boundaries and rarely ever accept the 'new dad' as anything more than an ATM, so the guy let's his frustration build to the point where he explodes on them, losing all credibility and respect. Obviously they don't all become psycho killers, but the abuses run rampant in today's society, so it's no surprise why so many teens are eager to see this film.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Poor Remake of a Classic B-Thriller

4/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 January 2011

After killing the whole family in Salt Lake City, the psychopath David Harris (Dylan Walsh) moves to Portland where he approaches to the divorced Susan Harding (Sela Ward) with her son Sean (Braeden Lemasters) and her daughter Beth (Skyler Samuels) in a supermarket. Six months later, David is living with Susan in her suburban house and the couple is planning to get married. When her rebel son Michael (Penn Badgley) returns home from military school, David welcomes Michael and supports him to stay home. But sooner Michael observes that the past of David is absolutely unknown and he suspects that his stepfather might be the missing killer. But neither her girlfriend Kelly Porter (Amber Heard) nor his mother see anything wrong with the stranger.

The 1987 "The Stepfather" is a classic B-thriller, with Terry "John Locke" O'Quinn very convincing in the role of the deranged psychopath. This poor remake is terrible, beginning with the cast of the weirdo Dylan Walsh in the lead role. The transposition of the story from the late 80's to 2009 is absurd since with the present means of communication, the identity of David Harris would never remain unknown with the facility to retrieve his social security number or use of the Internet and software like Photoshop to check his face without beard, especially considering that he is among the ten most wanted criminals in America. The exaggerated use of clichés and the conclusion are awful, and I would like to ask the writers who would survive to a stab in the neck with such piece of glass. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "O Padrasto" ("The Stepfather")

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18 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

One of the Better 80s Slasher Remakes

7/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
24 November 2009

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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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Average remake full of suspense , thrills and gory killings

6/10
Author: ma-cortes
2 May 2011

A meek-looking guy man named David Harris (Dylan Wash)marries widows and divorcées with children in search of the perfect family. As soon as his new family members show signs of being human and not robots who will march unquestioningly to his tune, his dreams of domestic bliss begin to crumble, and he murders them. Then he alters his appearance, assumes a new identity, and skips to another town to begin the deadly ritual all over again. He attempts to marry Susan Harding (Sela Ward) , who sees him as the ideal surrogate father for his sons , and he is soon up to his old tricks when she proves to be too much of a troublesome young son Michael (Penn Badgley) to handle. As Michael goes back home from military school to find his mother falling in love and living with her new love interest . As both of them get to know each other, he along with his father (Jon Tenney) become more and more suspicious of the person who is always there with a helpful hand .

Exciting thriller has well-cast Dylan Walsh who manages to deliver a good performance as a family-values man in search of the perfect little family but he results to be a psycho who eventually erupts into violence. But Amber Heard steals the spectacle showing a breathtaking bikini playing as son's girlfriend . The film turns out to be an inferior remake from successful original ¨The stepfather¨ (1987) by Joseph Ruben with Terry O'Quinn , Jill Schoelen, and Shelley Hack that was followed by other two follow-up as ¨ Stepfather 2¨ (1989) by Jeff Burr again with Terry O' Quinn , along with Meg Foster and Jonathan Brandis and ¨Stepfather 3¨ . Rating : 5,5 ; acceptable and passable .

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