Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


The Stepfather

The Stepfather
Starring:
Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward and Amber Heard


Rated: PG-13 intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, mature thematic material and brief sensuality
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 16, 2009 Released by: Screen Gems

The tweaking of the horror suspense formula continues with this remake of The Stepfather.

The 1987 cult hit featured Terry O'Quinn who has had recent success on TV's hit drama "Lost". But, he wisely declined, so Dylan Walsh, of another TV show "Nip/Tuck", assumes the role of a mysterious man always there with a helpful hand.

This rote, superficial version has Penn Badgley's Michael back home from military school to see his mother (Sela Ward) very happy with this guy who's living with her.

Of course, from the original, the past of hooking up with divorcees and widows and offing them and their offspring comes slowly, well at least for Michael. He has a bit of a diversion of his svelte, bikini-clad girlfriend (Amber Heard of Zombieland and The Informers).

Last year's Prom Night director Nelson McCormick again seems to have an aversion to making something distinguished in this genre, more scatterbrained than skillful that could have been more in line with the likes of Disturbia.

A body count is expected, but the rating reflects the bloodless, unsuspenseful mayhem, until, perhaps the final contrived faceoff. Walsh can't muster the necessary dastardly charisma and the often shirtless Badgely, Heard, and Ward don't have much for their characters to hang to.

This Stepfather is another very minor entry in the horror/slasher genre is more tepid and overwrought than dramatic and chilling.

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