Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Stepfather

The Stepfather 2009
Director: Nelson McCormick
Writer: J.S. Cardone
Starring Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Penn Badgely, Amber Heard, Sherry Stringfield, Paige Turco, Jon Tenney and Nancy Linehan Charles
This is yet another remake of a 80’s horror classic and while enjoyable it odes not hold a shine next to the original’s impact. While Walsh is a good villain he really goes bonkers when he loses his composure he just does not have the looniness of Terry O’Quinn. The film is pretty much a play by play remake not counting the lackluster ending. The film really needed a better climax and it really should have used that hand saw in a better and bloody way. I think the best thing about the film is Amber Heard, she is enjoyable to watch and is alos a damn good actress. I also think he should have killed more people and the film took a very leisurely pace and then tried to cram everything in at the end and that just does not work. This is just a remake that does not work on too many levels but it still has some enjoyable moments.
The plot basics are this, David Harris (Walsh) is a man with issues. He is trying to find the perfect family and when he does not succeed he kills the family and moves on to the next one. He finds a new potential wife (Ward) and quickly bonds with her and her family and moves in with her. She has a son, Michael (Badgely) who has just come back from a private school after having some issues and he quickly feels that something is not right with David. He begins to investigate along with his girlfriend (Heard) and sees things that do not add up. Soon, David knows things are not working out and makes his plans to wipe out the family. It is now up to Michael to save his family before something tragic happens.
This is a well done film. McCormick’s direction is solid and he builds the suspense really well. Such as the scene when Michael and Kelly are looking through David’s things and he returns. That was very nerve-wracking. The few kills in the film are done very well too and one of the brighter parts of the film. He also pushes the climax too fast and the whole final act of the film just feels rushed. The script has some problems too, characters are not developed real well and it seems there are a lot of things that happen that are there for no reason other than to move the story along and that is weak writing. The cast is good. Walsh makes a very good stepfather and is great when he goes crazy. Heard is also great as Kelly and is the shining point of the movie for me. It also does not hurt that she is in a bikini for most of the film. The rest of the cast is adequate and keeps the story going. The SFX and make up effects in the film are done well, even though this is mostly a bloodless film. The score is mostly forgettable, like most of this film it does not leave an impression on you. This is a film that is good to while away 90 minutes but I would say stick with the original.
This one gets 3 out of 5

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