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The Stepfather (2009)

  Tags: Amber Heard, Dylan Walsh, killer, Nelson McCormick, re-imagining, reboot, remake, Screen Gems, slasher, Sony Pictures Entertainment, stepfather, the stepfather

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (9 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
4

thestepfather.jpg
Rating #: 
4/10
Director: 
Nelson McCormick
Runtime: 
101 minutes
Cast: 
Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Penn Badgley, Jon Tenney, Amber Heard, Paige Turco, Sherry Stringfield


I just wanted to preface this thing by saying that I don't absolutely despise the idea of remaking films within our precious little genre.  As a lifetime fan of horror movies, I want nothing more than to see a solid, well made film tear into audiences.  And since Hollywood's had a giant erection for them for the past few years, if I have to put hope into a remake, then that's what I have to do. 

After all, the likes of The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left, Dawn of the Dead, and hell even My Bloody Valentine have showed me that "remake" doesn't have to be such a vomit inducing word.  But then along comes something like The Stepfather that makes me want to join the masses in protesting the raping of our beloved classics.  A movie so devoid of anything suspenseful or scary that I'm hard pressed to even refer to it as a horror film.

In all honestly, I saw this in theaters way back in November, but it just pissed me off so much that I chose not to write a review for it.  And before you think that I wasted one dime on this POS, rest assure that I get passes from having worked in a theater.  Now the time has come for me to unleash my anger upon the unsuspecting public.  Coming from the writer, director, and studio who brought us the shiteous Prom Night remake, my expectations were set at an all time low and I still came out disappointed. 

The original Stepfather is considered by some to be an 80s classic, due in large part to the tour de force performance by Terry O'Quinn.  (That's right Lost fans, the horror crowd has known he was cool for over twenty years now.)  But Dylan Walsh taking over the role just doesn't cut it.  He's great in Nip/Tuck, but as someone who's supposed to create a menacing and frightening villain he was tragically miscast. 

The rest of the cast fairs even worse due to the lack of ANYTHING to work with within the script.  These are the most barebones characters imaginable with nothing at all to make you give a shit about whether daddy hacks them to pieces or not.  Penn Badgely stars as Michael, a troubled youth returning from military school to find his mother's been getting smashed out by her new husband-to-be, David.  With the assistance of his spluge worthy girlfriend, Kelly (mmmmmm...Amber Heard), Michael uses those trusty internetings to discover that David is not nearly who he says he is!  DUN DUN DUN! 

Now, I would watch Amber Heard read a phone book for two hours, but damn was it painful seeing her (and the rest of the usually talented cast) suffer through this endeavor.  From the trailer there looked to be one redeeming, tension filled scene of a buzz saw falling centimeters short of tearing up Ms. Heards money maker.  Now, I waited the whole effing movie for this scene only to find out it had been cut out of the final print.  Really? Really?!

It's hard to figure out who to blame for this cockfuck monstrosity, so let's just blame everyone.  Screenwriter J.S. Cardone has a damn shitastic resume that ranges from semi-tolerable dookie, to "I'd rather masturbate with shards of glass" horse piss.   It's no surprise here that his latest script is bland and unimaginative and plays out more like a poor man's Disturbia than the original Stepfather.  Aside from the aforementioned Prom Night disaster, Nelson McCormick's work has been mostly within TV shows and it's overtly evident. 

It's very clean and polished, but also bears more of a resemblance to something my girlfriend would watch on the Lifetime Movie Network starring Haylie Duff than anything playing on 3,000 screens across the nation.  His directing style is perfectly decent for the small screen I suppose, but he's just not up to par for bigger budget features.  And as for Screen Gems studios is concerned; FUCK YOU!  The only smart thing the makers behind this movie did (and the only reason I added an extra point onto my original rating of a 3) was feature Heard in a wet, skimpy bikini for almost all of her screen time.  This sight, and this sight alone, saved me from the guilt of wasting gas money to go to the theater.

As a remake of a beloved 80s gem, The Stepfather fails.  As a standalone thriller meant for no more than entertainment value, The Stepfather fails.  As a bloodless, watered down, tween friendly thrill-less thriller with a shit script and all the directing style of a mediocre TV movie, The Stepfather passes with flying colors.  In short, this movie fucking blows.

Posted on February 20, 2010 - 3:04pm | Johnny D

 

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