5.6/10
31,411
165 user 127 critic

The Stepfather (2009)

PG-13 | | Crime, Thriller | 16 October 2009 (USA)
Trailer
2:34 | Trailer
Michael Harding (Penn Badgely) returns home from military school to find his mother Susan (Sela Ward) happily in love and living with her new boyfriend David (Dylan Walsh). 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.

Director:

Nelson McCormick

Writers:

J.S. Cardone (screenplay), Donald E. Westlake (earlier screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,391 ( 307)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dylan Walsh ... David Harris
Sela Ward ... Susan Harding
Penn Badgley ... Michael Harding
Amber Heard ... Kelly Porter
Sherry Stringfield ... Leah
Paige Turco ... Jackie Kerns
Jon Tenney ... Jay
Nancy Linehan Charles ... Mrs. Cutter
Marcuis Harris ... Detective Shay
Braeden Lemasters ... Sean Harding
Deirdre Lovejoy ... Detective Tylar
Skyler Samuels ... Beth Harding
Blue Deckert ... Captain Mackie
Jason Wiles ... Dylan Bennet
Kara Ortiz ... Real Estate Assistant (as Kara Briola)
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Storyline

Michael Harding (Penn Badgely) returns home from military school to find his mother Susan (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 the man of her dreams or could David be hiding a dark side?

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Daddy's home. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, mature thematic material and brief sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Braeden Lemasters, who played Penn Badgley's younger brother in this movie, played Badgley's younger self in Easy A (2010). See more »

Goofs

When Michael sneaks into the basement, pay attention to the scene with the cell phone. Cell phone breaks before hitting the ground and then the cell phone magically appears back on the deep freeze in the next scene. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Leah: One female in her late 30s, three minors. Multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.
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Alternate Versions

Unrated version was released on Region 1 DVD and Region A Blu-ray. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Stepfather III: Father's Day (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Platinum Camelot
Written by Jeremy Patrick Stramaglio and Farron Kerzner
Performed by Lightning Swords of Death
Courtesy of Baltane Records
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User Reviews

 
Not a great film but I kinda sorta enjoyed it =)
8 April 2010 | by IheartCali5882See all my reviews

I have a strict policy that states movies featuring either (a) a cat suddenly jumping out from a corner accompanied by an ominous sounding music chord or (b) a mirror that is empty of anyone but one character who turns away, then turns back and suddenly sees the killer in the mirror behind them...well these movies are only going to be so good. This movie has both, within about 60 seconds of each other. In spite of this, I have to say it's really not all that bad. I've seen many people complaining about the lack of originality, but when you're remaking a horror film from the 80's, it's almost inevitable that you're going to give the audience something they've seen before. That wasn't really bothersome to me though because the characters and anticipation overshadowed it for the most part.

Dylan Walsh plays the stepfather in a role that was actually likable for the first part of the film. He meets a single mom played by Sela Ward and all is picture perfect until her bad boy son comes home from military school. We only know he's bad by the way because someone tells us. He's a pretty normal, well adjusted kid considering that his dad is no longer around and his mother has engaged herself to a stranger in the span of 6 months. Far as I could tell, his behavior is still within normal range. It might have made for a more interesting film though if he really was a wild child.

So past that everyone knows what follows with the story. There is not a lot of gratuitous violence; even the killing scenes are low key which I don't really mind. If anyone is looking for lots of gore and clever death shots, this is not the film for them. The excitement is in the buildup, the experience of the characters finding out for themselves who the stepfather really is; especially when you have the one obligatory character, in this case the wayward son, who seems to intuit everything about the man from the first time he sets eyes on him. That standard plot device, a character who has it all figured out and NO ONE will believe him, well it's beyond old but it's moderately effective here.

The mindless and unnecessary adolescent dialogue, together with the many gratuitous bikini shots of the son's pale and too skinny girlfriend, tend to bring the quality of the film down. They were neither necessary nor helpful. But if you can look past that and the lack of originality (is it fair to expect that in this film really?) then you'll find an adequate film that's worth a couple hours of your time. I've seen much worse in the horror/thrillers in the past few years.

6/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

16 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stepfather 4 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,581,586, 18 October 2009

Gross USA:

$29,062,561

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,198,531
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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