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The Stepfather (2009) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)

Amber Heard , Penn Badgley , Nelson McCormick    Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Little Suspense Flick April 19 2010
By Jackson Spines TOP 500 REVIEWER
I had no expectations for this film when I sat down to watch it. I ended up liking it. It was full of suspense and the acting was good. When this movie comes on sale at Walmart, I won't hesitate to pick it up to add to my DVD library. Worth a watch!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Stepfather a worthy remake... Jan. 30 2011
I watched the original and this remake of The Stepfather and was impressed on both occasions. There have been a lot of garbage remakes in the past several years, but I think this one was pretty decent. Lots of TV actors you'll recognize. Some good suspense. Acting's fine. I'd recommend it if you like suspense/horror/slasher. :)
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Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  92 reviews
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless remake, badly executed Dec 31 2009
By RMurray847 - Published on Amazon.com
I hate to start a review with an admission of guilt, but I have to admit that I agreed to see a bargain showing of THE STEPFATHER to placate my bored daughter without any expectations that the film would be decent. So I didn't exactly have an open mind. Sadly, the film did NOTHING to change the mind I had almost made up in advance.

The 1987 original was, in its day, a creepy success. Terry O'Quinn (John Locke on LOST) was a calm, cool & collected psycho killer whose friendly demeanor could shut off in split second and become icy deadness. The basic story is similar in the two movies. The stepfather ingratiates himself into a family where the mother is feeling alone and in need of male companionship, and thus, may overlook a few strange moments in her new beau. There are kids already in place, and their new stepfather works hard to win them over...but they pick up on the fact that a lot of it is fake emotion. When the kids inevitably "disappoint" their new dad, bloody hell takes over and the family is killed, and "dad" moves on to another family.

In the original, the stepfather actually was always juggling two families. He already knew that one would inevitably disappoint him and he'd need another household to move to. When you think about it, this IS pretty creepy...he knows it's just a matter of time before he has to kill everyone, so why not have another family readily at hand. In the remake, the stepfather (Dylan Walsh, from NIP/TUCK) just goes from one to another...as though he thinks each family will be THE ONE.

The story is pretty predictable and familiar (and I bet if I looked back at 1987's film again, it would seem pretty tame...although I doubt the power of O'Quinn's performance will have diminished). New guy moves in and little details about him just don't seem right. Kids grow suspicious, but the newly married mother is oblivious or in denial. As the puzzle comes together, dad becomes more unhinged and all this leads to a final, bloody confrontation. A story as neatly laid out as this requires credible acting and a good pace and good editing sense to have a chance of giving us the creeps we need to feel. The new STEPFATHER doesn't measure up at all.

Walsh is an acceptable choice as the lead character. In NIP/TUCK, Walsh's character Sean is always the guy who on the surface seems like the nice, understanding, decent counterpart to his hedonistic partner, but often behaves just as stupidly. You could argue that he hasn't strayed all that far afield in THE STEPFATHER, but the role of the nice guy with a dark heart fits him. He doesn't do anything spectacular with the role, but he is acceptable. Sela Ward, always a solid if unspectacular actress, plays his new wife...and she's solid but unspectacular. Her dialogue, when she's defending her new man, is hardly of help to her. It's of the "Why can't everyone just be happy for me?" ilk.

So, two crucial characters are in place, and they are okay, particularly for an unambitious, low-budget genre film. But then we've got Penn Badgley and Amber Heard (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS) as the "kids." Each actor is about 23, but supposedly of high school age. Neither looks remotely that young. Badgley is the troubled son who has just come back for the summer from military school. He's sullen and vaguely unhappy, but never convinces as a kid that was bad enough to be sent away. He's mostly petulant, and, frankly, a bad actor. Heard is his long-time girlfriend, and it is apparently her lifelong ambition to strut around in front of her marginally interested boyfriend in a skimpy bikini. I felt somewhat bad for her...she's supposed to be the "rock" that keeps her boyfriend steady and grounded, and she's constantly giving him advice...but it's always in her bikini. Heard is not up to the task, so she comes across as an airhead who is reading lines. And the bikini seems even more out of place, because even though the two are ALWAYS hanging around the backyard pool, the film is lit in such a way that it always feel vaguely overcast and cold outside...I was always thinking she would be covered in goosebumps. It's these two characters who are supposed to finally put two-and-two together about the new man in their lives...but they seem so bland and vacuous that I never believed a single thing either of them said or did on screen. And if you dislike these characters, it's really tough to give a darn about what happens to them.

Also, the movie is PG-13, and this doesn't help. Walsh commits several violent acts, but we always cut away tastefully before we see much of anything, and while I don't need to wallow in gratuitous violence, not seeing ANYTHING really happen never really allows us to fear this guy. For goodness sake, he kills a little old lady from across the street, and we don't feel a thing.

There are occasional amusing elements, such as watching Walsh come up with excuses not to provide a social security number to his new employer...but when the climactic confrontations come, they are bland and unexciting. The movie spends a lot of time leading up to the final you-know-what hitting the fan, but when it does, all we can do is shrug "so what."

There was no really good reason to remake THE STEPFATHER. But having decided to, the filmmakers put very little effort into it. It's as though they decided that marketing should do all the work for them...they didn't actually need to make a good film. And they at least succeeded in that.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really Stupid Movie Aug. 21 2013
By Aimee Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This movie was just incredibly predictable. It was a horror movie, but I was never scared, and there was no mystery. The actors were very good, but they had a poor script with which to work.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No original but fun on blu ray Nov. 11 2011
By barry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The original film THE STEPFATHER was a great little suspense film that became a huge cult classic and is at the top of the list of the career of star Terry O'Quinn. The story of a family where the mother remarries and the guy ends up becoming a psychotic killer had so many chills and thrills. Everything about it just worked. Here we have a remake of that film. There are a lot of terrible reviews here and if comparing it to the original they are indeed justified. But it can be looked at for its own merits. It's like a grade B thriller and Dylan Walsh does a pretty good job as the creepy stepfather. Certainly no O'Quinn but still good. Sela Ward adds a certain intelligent naivite to the mother and is fine. The true star of this film though is Penn Badgley as the suspicious son. It was a suspicious daughter in the original and the switch up works. The way the film is directed pretty much shows that a film of the caliber of the original wasn't really being looked for. Emphasis is on Badgley and his girlfriend. The house has a pool and both stars are attractive and we get lots of bathing suit scenes. Definitelty B horror level stuff.

But there is some suspense and surprises. If you like any of the stars you will like the film. The blu ray has excelent video with strong crispness and clarity. Colors are strong and pop with flesh tones very realistic. Black/white ration is also good. Audio works well too with dialogue strong and present and surround speakers put to good use for the chills and suspense. I am a huge fan of the original and am looking at this film for what it is. And as a light suspense film with likable stars and excellent presentation on blu ray I can recommend it. Just know what you are getting. And if you are a fan of Ward, Walsh or Penn Badgley you will enjoy passing the 90 minutes.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By ! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b - Published on Amazon.com
Having always been a fan of the original film, I was curious to see this remake, even though I expected the worst. While this is an OK watch for thriller fans, it is inferior to the original in every way. In fact the original is more intense, more graphic and just more fun! This film looked and felt like a Lifetime TV movie especially with Ward playing the new wife in this tame and pointless remake.

If you looking to watch a film about a psychotic Stepfather, skip the watered down remake and look for the original, which has finally gotten a long over due DVD release this past year, no doubt because of the remake, so I guess the remake did serve a purpose after all.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars KILLIN DYLAN Feb. 27 2010
By Michael Butts - Published on Amazon.com
Was a remake of the 1987 cult classic really necessary? Not really. Is Dylan Walsh better than Terry O'Quinn? Not really. Is this a bad movie? Not really. Walsh is a good actor and can be quite creepy as the psycho dad from hell. Sela Ward and Jon Tenney are as always strong in support. I wasn't impressed with Penn Badgely..obvious eye candy for the teen audience. I found myself caught up in its predictable plot so it's not all that bad.
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