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The Stepfather: Sub-par remake
Platypuschow28 November 2017
Of all the films to remake The Stepfather (1987) starring the excellent Terry O'Quinn seems like a really peculiar choice.

I personally enjoyed the original and to an extent its two sequels but went into this assuming the worst. I felt like it would miss the point of the original and overly gloss it with Hollywood sparkle.

Well, it's somewhere inbetween. The Stepfather is a bigger budget version of essentially the same tale, but simply not done as well. So it looks all pretty pretty but doesn't have the same impact that Terry O'Quinn provided.

As a thriller this is passable, just try to forget that its a remake and don't compare it to the superior original.

Dylan Walsh is okay in the role and the film also includes a young Amber Heard on the upswing of her career.

Watchable stuff, but it simply didn't need making.

The Good:

Surprisingly excellent soundtrack

Passable performances

The Bad:

The whole thing feels so unnecessary

Not as good as the original

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

We shouldn't live in a world where we need to background check potential partners, but we probably should
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Not a great film but I kinda sorta enjoyed it =)
IheartCali58828 April 2010
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.

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Doesn't have the subtlety of the original but still an enjoyable remake
imdbbl10 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.

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Cliché and predictable.
K_Schafer21 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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Nothing New
mustluvtacos21 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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Amber Heard in a bikini...oh yeah...and some other stuff.
carlosgateleaper29 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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Unrated Director's Cut Review
moviewizguy9 May 2010
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?

THE STEPFATHER is a sufficient thriller that gets the job done the way you expect it to. It has suspense, good performances, and is well made. I haven't seen the original film starring Terry O'Quinn so I can't compare it with the remake. However, I can say the remake is entertaining and is engaging while it lasts. What more can you ask for?

The thing that I liked the most here was the family dynamics. I didn't know what to expect from Penn Badgley, who plays the main character, but he pulls off a very convincing performance. Sela Ward as the mother is just great and the pretty blond who shows some skin, Amber Heard, can actually act! Paige Turco and Jon Tenney were really good in their roles as well. However, it's obvious that Dylan Walsh is the main star of the film. He does a fantastic job as the crazy stepfather. Some of his scenes just gave me chills.

There's also quite a bit of suspense in here, which surprised me. Sure, there's one cat jump scare (don't you just hate those?), but that's forgivable because there was only one. Some of the death scenes were quite disturbing as well. Being a PG-13 movie and all, you might expect death scenes with no blood to be quite "lame," as they say it, but that's where you're wrong. They're pretty realistic and not over the top as you might have seen in other films.

If there's one thing I must complain about, it's the payoff. I thought it was way too short and that it could have been longer. In the end, however, the remake keeps you very interested until the very end. There's rarely any moment where you'll find yourself looking at your watch because the thriller gets the job done and does it efficiently and effectively.
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Very Impressive.
Having not seen the original version of The Stepfather I have to say that normally I'm not a fan of remakes, and usually, yes, I do loathe them because they always tend to be a load of crap (Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes for example..). However, since I haven't seen the original Stepfather film I can't compare them both, but what I have seen in this remake is something else. I was really, really impressed with this, and I am going to have to seek out the original now to see what it was like.

The Stepfather basically tells the story of "David" - a disturbed man who is apparently normal and caring on the outside but very unstable on the inside, both psychologically and emotionally and one of who lives a lot double lives, looking for recently divorced women to emotionally manipulate them and ultimately, breaks them down and kills them and any immediate family. I always compare him to the girl out of the Orphan because they both have nearly the same tactics at luring people into trusting them - in fact this movie reminded me of Orphan a lot. Anyway, when he senses he may be in danger of having his history found out, "David" takes even more extreme action to cover his steps up a lot quicker than he would normally do. "David" has been doing this many for years, and also has evaded capture from the police by changing his appearance and never using any ID when purchasing, for example a car. He always pays in cash, and always changes his appearance in somewhat way before moving onto his next victim. You may think it's a relatively simple plot, but the movie itself is a lot of fun and suspense. There's also a lot of psychological tension and build up as "David"'s new family become suspicious of his activities and his apparent lack of background information. As the movie progresses, things turn for the worse for the family he has deceived as they become wary of his background.

The acting is first class, and the guy who acts as "David", Dylan Walsh? I think that's his name. He is very convincing in his role. I honestly can't find one bad thing to say about this movie, as I definitely enjoyed it, and the build up of psychological suspense kept me watching until the very end of the credits. All in all it's quite excellent, and I've given it a 9 out of 10, simply losing one point because it is still a remake, but one that is excellent.

If you're a fan of Orphan or indeed, The Strangers, The Stepfather's psychological factors may just peek your interests here. Definitely a must watch at some point. Very enjoyable!
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Overlooked, fantastic thriller
meriles_stephen22 February 2010
I have to say, after seeing a lot of reviews of this movie, I can honestly say that I'm a little perplexed. A lot of them seem to believe this is some kind of Lifetime movie, some call it a typical dumbed-down teen thriller and I saw one reviewer call it a call back to old horror titillation, and I'm surprised and that this film is neither of those. In fact, it's the exact opposite. While some Lifetime thirllers revolve around a woman who is being tortured by her abusive husband, who'm she must try to escape from his evil man-grasp, this film is actually about the older son of the family who tries to prove to his mother that her boyfriend is evil, much to the mother's (understandable) denial. It's not a teen revenge movie about a kid who trying to rail against the new guy in his life who (for some unexplained reason) is evil. It's a film about domestic life and show's you every minute of what's happening with both the son and the stepfather, explaining every happening and soaking up all the tension between them, with the only exposure to his teen life his girlfriend, who serves less as his flat love interest to escape to and more like his straight-man who calls him about on an obsession based on a (though correct) simple distrust. Speaking of which, the reviewer who said this was all about the skin and sex appeal must have been pretty prudish, because I think there's about one scene which focuses about them making out, and it's pretty tame as far as thrillers go. She spends most of movie in her bikini, but it's never the focus of any shot. The character's are an oddity in film today, as they're likable for the most part, and when they aren't, it's understandable. This especially odd for the teen couple, who seem intelligent and more than one note. The stepfather is affable, and pulls off the charming part well for the most part, seeming just like the stepdad you've always wanted. He commits murders throughout the movie, but if they never showed any before the end the only thing you would suspect is that the son is obsessed...except for the blasting soundtrack, which I'll admit eases up toward the middle. There's no campiness or over-the-topness in the movie, and everything is done in a realistic fashion, enough to say that if someone was this smart and charming, this could happen to you. It's a bit anti-climatic at times, but otherwise keep you satisfied through out the film.

This is a thriller/horror movie that keeps up with the times. It's not like horror movies today that seem to forget they're not in the 70's, making advances in technology into huge plot holes or underestimates the intelligence of today's people, whether the characters or the audience. Rather it uses those advances to it's advantage and perfectly measures the logic and understanding of people today, sometimes using it to add relief or tighten suspense. It takes everything you knows about thillers, and while it doesn't turn them all around or revolutionize anything, it at least stays away from the stereotypes or make the standard tropes less tired It's not some kind of Lifetime movie of the week, or MTV Award bait, or even one of those David Loughery faux-thrillers; what this is a tight scripted, well-acted, truly suspenseful film that keeps you guessing, if you can predict what already happens. I recommend a lot of movies, but if your a horror or suspense fan and you've at least okay with the remakes of films like Friday the 13th or My Bloody Valentine, you have to go see this movie! It will amaze you in how they keep everything fresh and tense!
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One of the Better 80s Slasher Remakes
gavin694224 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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Once again the trailer was better than the film
cinevid19 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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not bad
alienworlds28 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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questl-185921 June 2021
Horrible, Lifetime movie garbage. Wooden acting, a very overzealous sound design and zero sense of dread make this feel like a complete waste of time.

Let's rip some of it apart though.

According to the movie, recently widowed mothers will basically invite a guy to move in with them as long as he says his wife died. At least twice we see him pull this stunt and the second time especially was infuriating. "I recently lost my wife and daughter in an accident" is, according to this movie, the cheat code for domestic bliss.

He somehow survives in a town and even becomes a realtor without ever once having to show any documentation? Nooooooope.

Amber Heard. Recent problems aside, the male gaze on her in this movie is out of control. Every shot of her has her in a bikini and in some way or another flaunting her body in a very sleazy fashion. She is nothing in this movie but eye candy and it gets to a point of just being obnoxious.

The smash cuts and sudden sound effects cues need to stop. The entire time of this movie would be different if it was shown raw and without the sound track holding our hands and dragging us through.

There's a scene near the end where a phone breaks that might be one of the most ridiculous, fakest things I've ever scene. Ring ring, it falls and smashed to pieces, BEFORE EVEN HITTING THE GROUND, and somehow the crucial part manages to slide like three feet away from the rest of it? Noooooope!

The only redeeming factors here are what I believe to be a casually lesbian couple that the movie never addresses, because that's awesome. They're just a couple, no need to make a huge thing out of it. And the mother actually fights back! Hallelujah a movie like this where the suburban mom doesn't just take it. God the bar is low on these things.

This thing is trash. Don't waste your time with it. Ugh, so bad.
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allnitediner24 April 2021
It has decent moments and a few thrills but it seems like they relied heavily on Amber Heard showing skin to keep (some) people interested. It's actually distracting and eye roll inducing because it's so ridiculous how often she's not wearing clothes. Overall this was a dud.
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The Stepfather (2009) **
JoeKarlosi30 October 2009
Knowing that some people are aware of my crusade against what I call "needless modern remakes of already modern-enough movies," I'm guessing they may very well ask why I bothered seeing a new version of the 1987 original (which was already a good horror-thriller as it stood). Well, my wife and our friends wanted to go to the movies and we'd already seen PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and SAW VI. Also, during one of those other recent trips to the theater I had spent a little time before the show sneaking into THE STEPFATHER for about ten minutes and examining what I now realize was its one best scene, so that made me more willing to take a chance and see the whole thing if everyone else was willing at a later date.

"By the numbers" is probably the best term I would use to sum up my impression of the new 2009 STEPFATHER. Not only had I seen the whole formula before (and I mean in a whole lot of other movies besides just the 1987 STEPFATHER), it offered nothing new or different (I won't spoil the ending except to say it was typical). Thankfully, Dylan Walsh in the title role (some may remember him as the good guy from the NIP/TUCK television series) manages to be effective enough. As an obsessed family man who murders one wife and set of children after another and keeps moving on, ever in search of the perfect household, he is suitably intense and deranged when he needs to be. But as the latest divorced woman he chooses to shack up with, Sela Ward isn't especially memorable here, and the best that may be said for her is that she looks pretty good for a lady in her 50's. The story spends far too much time on her teenage son and his pretty girlfriend, and for some reason we're inundated with a pop music soundtrack almost every time they're together, like we're watching FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. It's been about ten years since I've seen the 1987 version, but I recall it being better than this one, and Terry O'Quinn as being superior in the part. I am currently awaiting a shipment of the recently released DVD of the original and hope to revisit it very soon just to make sure. ** out of ****
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This remake is a pretty solid film by itself.
geniuskentyk-19 July 2010
'The Stepfather' is a fairly decent thriller and slightly-slasher film in a time where films like this are horribly made. I've never seen the original 'Stepfather' film, but from what I can tell, this remake isn't too shabby. It has strong leads and a decent and straightforward script with good pacing. I loved the introduction of the film, where it explains how the "Stepfather" killer is able to kill a family and get away with it so many times. I like how there's never really a slow or boring part in the film. We like the main son, Michael, and his girlfriend. I think Penn Badgley and Amber Heard were good in their roles. I especially liked Dylan Walsh as the stepfather. Walsh made the character both likable and hated, and made him interesting. I didn't like how clueless the mom was; she's a complete idiot. One of the biggest problems the film had was the actions some of the characters took that didn't make sense. No one would logically marry someone they knew nothing about; it's just unrealistic. And there's one part where the stepfather walks out to his front lawn while there's a bunch of policemen right across the street. If you're a mass murderer on the run, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't make yourself that noticeable to the police. Also, the stepfather should have had the cell phone turned off from the beginning, not when someone's trying to call the cell phone. It's ridiculous. The stepfather's supposed to be a smart and clever guy, but we don't see that when he's with this new family. With all of this said and done, I felt that this remake of 'The Stepfather' didn't offer anything new, but it does entertain. I did like the ending and what happens to the stepfather; I felt it was a fairly good and interesting conclusion to the film. Though the ending may have felt rushed and quick, I was fine with it.

PS: This remake of 'The Stepfather' in a lot of ways felt like 2007′s 'Disturbia' (3 Kents out of 4!). I was constantly reminded of 'Disturbia' while I was watching 'The Stepfather.' However, I like 'Disturbia' more and think it was made better and more interesting. The third act of 'Disturbia' wasn't great, though, which I think the remake of 'The Stepfather' succeeds in – having the film go through a constantly interesting pace.
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it's entertaining
stefenie278 June 2010
I enjoyed this movie. Yes, there are some predictable parts, and yes it is a scenario we have scene time and time again, but if your looking for a suspense thriller for 2009, this can be added to your list. The Stepfather plays a good role with his intense ways. The oldest son is realizing there is something totally not right with this picture, but he is well distracted by his girlfriend. She thinks her boyfriend Michael is paranoid of his "soon to be" new Stepfather. The Mom is oblivious, her sister is curious! Everything starts unraveling along with the Stepfather's nerves when things seem to not go his way. Makes you wonder why the Mom doesn't care about any information on her future husband, guess she's wearing those rose colored glasses awful thick! It's a movie worth watching, if anything, you'll be entertained! :)
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Nothing new but worth the time!!!
joselnieves8116 October 2009
I was able to see a private screening of this movie at AMC on 86th Street and well it was pretty much what I expected of yet ANOTHER remake. It brings really nothing new to the table and pretty much just introduces younger crowds to our old school classics.

The Stepfather is yet another movie remade and re-imagined but they couldn't really take it to far as the original did. The movie while yes its very suspenseful at times and I do have to say the audience was very much into the movie, some people were yelling at the screen so it did receive good audience feedback but for me personally I just have to say its just another Hollywood remake which introduces nothing new, nothing we didn't already know, just another cheap attempt for a movie studio to make a few bucks from the younger generation. Basically if you haven't seened it and have the time and no desire to see anything else check it out, if your a fan of the original don't check it out. Want to see a horror movie this Halloween then go see PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. The Stepfather is worth a viewing if you can see it during matinée hours.
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don't waste your time
charlee-cooper10 September 2015
I stayed up late on a work night to watch this and I'm disappointed. That's 90 minutes of my life I won't get back. The whole movie seemed to lack suspense. It was advertised as a slasher movie, but it contained no gore and the most pathetic excuse for violence. It was almost laughable. I feel like they blew the whole budget on Amber Heard's bikinis and underwear, so they couldn't afford any really good bloody or gruesome SFX. There was no story arc whatsoever, it just didn't seem like it was snowballing into this incredible edge-of-your-seat suspense, he ended up killing everyone in such obvious and stupid ways, there were some scenes that could have been made to be incredible, but they were cut short and you didn't really know what happened. Even the ending was anti- climatic. Personally I don't know how a serial killer who interacts with the victims families and close personal friends can evade capture. This is 2009 America, surely the man was caught on CCTV somewhere? I just found the whole story unbelievably boring and far fetched. A man deleted a photo you took of him off your phone and you deduce that he's a serial killer? Right until the final showdown, I was wondering when the suspense and drama would kick in.
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It barely works...but it does work.
Matt_Layden28 February 2010
In this remake we see Dylan Walsh taking over the role of the stepfather. In the original it was my boy John Locke (Terry O'Quinn). This remake is just one of many to come out in recent years and it also succumbs to the PG-13 rating that has been plaguing horror fans since these remakes hit the scene.

The Stepfather is not horrible, but it doesn't try to be memorable either. It's generic and caters to the young teenage crowd. With the exception of Dylan Walsh, who does his best in this creepy role, the film lacks any kind of punch. The characters we are introduced to are poorly written and the choices of actors to portray them doesn't help either. Amber Heard is great to look at, but what use is she here? She spends 90% of the time in a bikini near a pool, or in her underwear in her room. Sela Ward is the mother, who invites a strange man she has never met before to spend time with her and her kids after meeting him in a grocery store. 6 months later, she is getting married, but doesn't bother to ask him about his past life? No pictures, or I.D.?

It was interesting to watch the stepfather (who really isn't the stepfather, more like the mom's boyfriend) try to keep things together, especially when it seemed like his plans were falling apart. Walsh has that sinister look to him and just enough charm to pull off the role. I can't really say the same for anyone else in the film.

The clichés are all here in this film. Cell phones that always have low battery, villains who are mortally wounded, but keep fighting at 100%, pretty young ladies in danger, characters who choose not to believe the truth even though it is right in front of their eyes.

The film is predictable and goes through the motions. All the deaths are boring, but I never expected them to be over exaggerated. I can't really recommend this film, maybe for fans of remakes or the young teenagers who really dig these types of films. It's not horribly bad, but it's not worth the time to go out a grab a copy either.
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doomsjay23 October 2009
This had to be the dumbest movies ever. I can't believe we choose this one to see.

I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a comedy or a horror flick, yet the plot was predictable every step of the way. The acting was horrible, but without any big names in the cast that didn't surprise me. There were constant jump scenes which anybody listening should have expected by the overuse of suspense background music, and when it wasn't that, the movie was set to crappy emo music. Other than the Stepfather, you'd think one of the characters would have had the sense for what to do with a phone.

If you're one for eye candy, you'll love the son's girlfriend who, aside from at the beginning of the movie, apparently seems to live her entire life wearing only underwear or bikinis.
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Waste of time
klani-3668029 April 2021
No no no. Everything was so predictable. Basically another lifetime story.
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Reasonable re-make that is, perhaps, less fun
TheInevitableHulk26 July 2020
Well acted, well made (if a little by the numbers) re-make of a bottom rung, violently camp original 'Slasher'.

Far more serious in tone and without the arch elements of central performance. There are a couple of points that remain in the memory.

Firstly, the very leary and languorous shooting and framing of Amber Heard, she always seems to be in a bikini and the camera is always focusing on some very deliberate physical movements and shots that emphasise her body.

Secondly (and easily the scariest part of the entire package) is the awful cover of 'Happy Together' (butchered by Filter) that plays over the end credits. Appalling as any murder.
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Thought it was a Lifetime original movie....
enickoloff16 June 2017
I saw it on lifetime and thought it was a Lifetime original. That's really all you need to know.

On the plus side, my boyfriend loved it because Amber Heard spends the movie in a bikini. So it's got that going for it I guess. So, 1/10 for quality, 7/10 for getting your boyfriend to shut up while you drink wine and watch bad movies.
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Unoriginal, unsustaining pot boiler of a thriller
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Michael (Penn Badgley) returns home from military school to find his mother shacked up with new guy David Harris (Dylan Walsh) who has a troubled history of his own he hasn't told any of them about- namely, he shacks up with family after family before butchering them and making off as if he never existed. As aspects of his past fail to add up, Michael and his girlfriend Kelly (Amber Heard) start to dig deeper into the man he really is- a move which throws them into harm's way in more ways than they could imagine.

All sorts of dross still finds itself onto the shelves despite being quite obvious direct to DVD junk. A film with a title as corny as The Stepfather would have looked naff enough in the video era, but someone must think there's some sort of audience for it. In fact, it's laughability is one of it's selling points, in a 'so bad it's entertaining' kind of way (check out the still on the back cover with Sela Ward's mother character, screaming in terror but looking more like she's won the lottery.) Aside from this, it's notable for having Dylan Walsh in the lead role, an actor I haven't heard about in quite a while, here showing he's competent delivering darker roles.

The Stepfather benefits from a haunting, creepy opening, as the dour Christmas tune Silent Night plays over Walsh's character calmly going about things with the corpses of his latest victims (including children!) lying all around him. And to be fair, through-out Walsh maintains an air of darkness and intensity about him. Yet somehow the film fails to come together and be really effective. It just doesn't manage a consistent tone through out, meaning none of it manages to be really seat edge, hard when it's all so predictable anyway. It's been done before (anyone remember the similarly dreadful Domestic Disturbance?) and when everything has worked itself out, it leaves you with an ending some may find objectionable with everything that's gone on. **
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