Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Dylan Walsh, Penn Badgely, Sela Ward, Amber Heard, Paige Turcco
Directed by Nelson McCormick
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
There’s lots of chatter about people who are sick and tired of hearing folks complaining about remakes. They say the subject is like beating a dead horse, and in many instances they are correct in their assessment. However, when you sit through a film like Nelson McCormick’s remake of The Stepfather, all of that bitching seems ever so justified.
Dylan Walsh (who sleepwalks through the role made famous by Terry O’Quinn) plays a murderous loony whose only goal in life is to find the perfect family. Of course that ends up being a fairy tale because such a thing does not exist, so he settles for any mother and set of kids that he can find until he’s tired of them, kills them, and then moves on to the next. His latest victims, single divorcee Susan (Sela Ward) and her two sons, the eldest played by Penn Badgely, prove to be a little to snoopy about his past; and before you know it, bodies start piling up in the most uninspired and bloodless fashion possible.
This is it, folks. One of the prime examples of everything that’s wrong with remakes — times ten. Insipid. Boring. Tedious. Dumb. Unwarranted. Unlikable. Poorly written. Void of suspense. Void of logic. Void of anything even remotely resembling watchable. The Stepfather sucks in every conceivable way with the exception of the one that results in the expulsion of bodily fluids during orgasm. This is truly the bottom of the barrel. For a more detailed explanation of every single thing that’s gone wrong here, and wow is there a lot, check out my esteemed colleague, The Foywonder’s, The Stepfather review here. It’s a far more interesting read than anything you’ll find within the movie.
On to the extras. With the exception of a few standard Blu-ray bells and whistles like BD-Live’s movieIQ, both digital packages share the same special features. Things kick off with a commentary you won’t want to listen to, followed by two making-of featurettes that you won’t want to watch, and the whole ordeal is capped off by a gag reel that isn’t even remotely amusing. Nope. Nothing to see here.
Yes, the Blu-ray looks and sounds better than its DVD cousin, but will you care? This movie rots no matter how you are watching it. In fact, you shouldn’t be watching it. You should be watching the Terry O’Quinn movie or its sequel instead. Do yourself a favor and do that. You’ve been warned.
In short — when any movie, be it horror or not, possesses the uncanny ability to make the When a Stranger Calls remake look like high art, you know there’s a problem. This flick came really close to getting a zero from me, and the only thing keeping it from achieving that dubious honor is the first five minutes of the film, which almost seemed interesting. Oh, that and the frequent and laughable usage of Amber Heard in a bikini. Did wardrobe just forget to shop for her? I’ll take some of what they were having. Anything to forget this disaster!
1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
Discuss The Stepfather in our Dread Central forums!