Top positive review
One person found this helpful
usual thriller with bright star
on 7 November 2011
Fairly typical story about two families, newly-united by second marriages for each, with a homocidal step-father. Not much new there.
The done-before story-line is elevated by some atmosphere and good acting, especially from exquisite Penn Badgley, the delicious anti-hero from Gossip Girl. He was the reason I found this film, which would have gone unnoticed otherwise. Aside from the welcome eye-candy he provides, he has a compelling screen presence which makes everything he does interesting to watch.
Penn's new house has a swimming pool in the back yard (hooray for California) so he appears several times lounging around in a bathing suit. Even if he couldn't act, or was not so obviously intelligent, Penn Badgley is certainly a genius from the neck down. And it's always good to see a director who knows how to use his attractive star.
The step-father in question seems to have it in for poor Penn (too handsome?), but tries to disguise it under a bland and over-polite exterior which fairly drips with 'concern' -- the dead give-away of a psychopath in a thriller. It takes plenty of nocturnal stealth and surreptitious sleuthing on Penn's part (usually in shorts and t-shirt) to uncover the older man's dreadful secret which, in one last cliche of the genre, is hidden in the basement. But therein lies the atmosphere and chills the movie provides -- apart from the very real fear that our star will not get into a bathing suit again.
Movie alone? Three stars. Extra star for Penn Badgley shirtless.