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The Stepfather

2010-01-04 10:40

What it's about:

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 his mother's dreams or could David be hiding a dark side?

What we thought:

In the 1987 original, the bad stepdad was played by future Lost cast member Terry O'Quinn. This time around, another TV screen actor, Dylan Walsh of Nip/Tuck fame, gets to walk around with the knife of death.

When Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) returns home from military school, he finds out that his mother, Susan Harding (the gorgeous Sela Ward) is happily in love with the too-good-to-be-true, David Harris (Walsh). Things seem ideal but Michael isn’t so easily convinced that the new man in his mom’s life is all that he seems to be.

Penn Badgley (Dan from Gossip Girl) is ideal in the role of a teenager who seems a bit wary of the new man in his mom’s life. He is quite convincing as he ups the melodrama, playing detective in his efforts to reveal David's true nature. As you'd expect, Michael is alone in his suspicions as the new man of the house charms his way into the family. Michael slowly starts to convince his gorgeous, always half-naked girlfriend Kelly (Amber Heard) but by the time this happens, you've probably predicted how it all turns out.

The seasoned cast has certainly seen better days, as they go through the motions in this plodding domestic thriller. And it's a story we've seen too many times before (Domestic Disturbance with John Travolta mired the same territory, but was at least suspenseful). That this is a remake is further proof of this movie's crimes against good sense. There is very little that redeems The Stepfather - it's mundane, uninspired, by-numbers dreck that's rife with horror clichés.

Rather chance it on DVD - there's unquestionably something more worthwhile at the movies theatres.

From its cliché killer tactics to its predictable storyline, this horror should’ve been left on the editing room floor.

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