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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 November 2014
The original 1987 movie 'The Stepfather' was a great little thriller, by no means a classic in the world of horror, but it has become something of a cult. This 2009 remake, as is often the case, doesn't match up to the first one, but it is nevertheless enjoyable and will hopefully encourage younger viewers to seek out the original.

When Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) returns home from military school, he finds that his mother is living with her new boyfriend David Harris (Dylan Walsh), and is very much in love. As the two men get to know each other, Michael becomes more suspicious of this seemly perfect boyfriend, and suspects that he is hiding a much more sinister side to his character.

The new 'Stepfather' offers nothing new, it's fairly predictable and a straight forward plot, but it is worth watching until the end. Remakes can sometimes be disastrous, but this one isn't a disaster movie, it's inferior to it's original, but it still holds up.

The DVD contains lots of special features, including a gag reel, a commentary with Penn Badgley, Dylan Walsh and director Nelson McCormick, a 'making of', and a 'visualising the stunts' featurette.
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on 15 July 2013
The film opens quietly on Christmas morning with David (Dylan Walsh) having a cup of coffee, playing Christmas music, and leaving his bludgeon family behind. It was a nice scene, almost surreal in how it was done. We know David is the family slasher as his charming self meets up with a new mommy (Sela Ward). After 6 months they are engaged. Her son Michael (Penn Badgley) initially takes to the new stepfather, but then starts to have his doubts as does other people. Michael's girlfriend (Amber Heard) provides the film with some token bikini eye candy.

The movie concentrates mostly on the building of the new relationship and the clues David drops that he is not what he claims to be. As people figure out his identity, he must eliminate them one by one until we get to the expected climax scene, which even by modest slasher standards, was a bit of a let down. I will say the acting was better than most "B" productions, but the script lacked the "few good scenes" that any movie needs. There are better slasher films out there.

1 f-bomb, no sex, no nudity.
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on 20 June 2017
I watched it during the vacation. The story comes from life, higher than life. The film is ok. The actor's acting is in place. The ending is not perfect, but I like it very much. I really like the props in this movie. It's quite realistic.
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on 13 July 2017
Decent movie.
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on 21 April 2010
The original was an impressive, unassuming little movie from the 80s (which, incidentally, has been given a pathetic full-screen dvd release), so I was looking forward to seeing how they'd screw up the remake. To be fair, it starts promisingly enough, with serial fruitcake Dylan Walsh attempting to mould Sela Ward and her offspring into the perfect family. Nip Tuck veteran Walsh is surprisingly intimidating as the steppie from Hell and there are some effectively uncomfortable scenes as his mind starts to unravel. It's a more aggressive performance than Terry O'Quinn's brilliantly warped portrayal in the original, but the 1987 film had a streak of black humour that worked particularly well and is sadly lacking in this reworking. Other shortcomings include:
1) Far too much screen time devoted to the stepson's relationship with his girlfriend, which is basically an excuse for the director to perve on massively annoying bimbo Amber Heard.
2) A gaping hole in the plot concerning the real father's disappearance halfway through the film. Why isn't he reported missing?
3) A crucial sub-plot from the original (victim's brother attempts to track down the murderer) has been ignored. Consequently this adaptation hits a flat spot and never recovers, becoming hopelessly repetitive in it's storytelling.
4) The climax is totally underwhelming and unexciting.
The film is certainly watchable and superior to some of the other appalling recent remakes, but I can't help thinking this was a missed opportunity to improve on the humble, low budgeted (but very entertaining) original.
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The Stepfather (played by Dylan Walsh - Nip/Tuck) is about a serial-killer that has a preference for single mothers with children. He moves into their lives rapidly, fronting as a recently-bereft mourning father himself who just needs love. Once inside, he tries to force the family into his idea of a perfect family unit - whether the mother and kids like it or not with violent results should anyone dare to differ.

Resultantly, he has to deal with the suspicious friends & neighbours who notice that he only uses cash, shies away from anything that requires his social security number or any official documentation. Naturally, the teenage son (Penn Badgley - Gossip Girl) is highly-suspicious and so begins a Disturbia-stlye cat & mouse play except the killer is inside the house.

Where this film falls completely flat is any sense of tension that should have been present in this film is robbed from it by the opening scene showing that he is, in fact, a serial killer. So we are not on board with the rest of the family umming & aahing about 'is he/isn't he', we are literally just left waiting for him to go off. I mean he is right there on the cover, knife in hand FGS!! The one card this hackneyed plot had to play is not knowing whether the man you have let into your house & family is a killer or not - and that was ruined from the get-go.

Maybe - I stress this - maybe, worth a watch if you like these type of predictable horror movies (scary but predictably safe) but other than that, this is really one to avoid!!
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on 1 April 2012
Aimed more towards the teenage market than it's superior original,The Stepfather is a below-average irritating mess of a thriller aimed at making a quick buck from those who aren't even aware there is a much better movie from the 80s out there with the same title.
Dylan walsh is unconvincing as the serial killer who's obsessed with the concept of the perfect family.Terry O' Quinn was much more intelligent,chilling and belivable in the original 8os cult chiller.
Dylans' character makes too many silly mistakes considering he's supposed to have got away with this murdering business for a number of years.He even forgets to delete the history on the family computer after checking his photo-fit on America's Most Wanted website.(DUH!!)
The two teenage characters in the movie (the future stepson, and his girlfriend played by Amber Heard) are totally useless spending most of the running time frolicking about in the family pool.
Ms heard's contract no doubt stated 'your character must spend most of her scenes walking around half-naked looking empty, and void of any human emotion'.Not so different, in fact, from her character in 'All The Boys Love Mandy Lane'.Is this girl being typecast by any chance?
All in all this is a feckless bit of movie-making with few redeeming qualities as so far as a good thriller goes-unless of course you are just looking for footage of Amber Heard strolling about with a minimum amount of clothing on.If so then you've just struck gold!
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on 26 November 2010

If you know the original, this remake will make you cry.
Firstly, this is a PG-13 film. Yes, the version here is the unrated version, ridiculously passed as "extreme" version, but everybody knows, that a PG-13 film with a few reinstated scenes (less than a minute) does not change the mood of the film - it still is a watered-down PG-14 1/2 film, and for a movie with this theme (and in regards to the 1987 original) this was a really poor choice.
Secondly, Dylan Walsh is not Terry O'Quinn. Terry O'Quinn IS the Stepfather, he made THE STEPFATHER and the 1989 sequel STEPFATHER II - MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY! great. This remake is a pathetic excuse of a wannabe thriller and never should have been made in the first place.
Thirdly: utter boredom. We know the story, we know what's gonna happen, this remake doesn't work. The characters are dull and boring
Recommended course of action:
Ignore this horrible film and order this instead: The Stepfather [DVD] . Then go here The Stepfather 2 [DVD] and order that one as well.
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on 27 May 2015
So the bloke from Nip/Tuck gets fed up of his practice and heads off to marry Richard Kimbles murdered wife from the fugitive.

Nothing is as it seems, The son comes home, he's a bit weary of old dad, and dad gets a little bit irate when the young one won't stop playing his game.

The story goes from plot point to plot point without making a whole lot of sense, but then we are in that genre that owns Hollywood at the moment 'Let's remake a cult/horror/thriller movie from the eighties, get some relatively famous/sexy people in, make it PG13 and watch the money come in', so all rational thought can be thrown out of the window.

A neighbour gets a bit suspect, he kills her, real Dad gets a bit suspect, he gets killed.

It's like this for the duration of the film, until the finale in the attic with the dodgy flooring (every film has one), and the token Unlawful entry/single white female ending to boot.

Walsh is good as the titular character, but the rest of the cast appear to be on autopilot.

i haven't sen the original, but now i'll give it a go.
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