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Review: The Stepfather

Remake fails to get any blood flowing
By BRETT MICHEL  |  October 21, 2009
1.5 1.5 Stars

 

If you call a film The Stepfather, then your title character — in this case, David Harris (Dylan Walsh) — should have the decency to marry into that perfect little family that he’s predisposed to butcher and kill. This — as we see in the first scene of Nelson McCormick’s watered-down PG-13 remake of Joseph Rubin’s classic (by 1987 standards) horror thriller — is what the formerly bearded and bespectacled serial paterfamilias did (and without shedding a single, R-rated drop of blood) when he was known as Grady Edwards and living in Salt Lake City.

But as David, he simply becomes engaged to Portland divorcée Susan Harding (Sela Ward) — who’s victimized by some terribly noticeable digital de-aging FX — and then starts acting creepy, arousing the suspicions of Susan’s teenage son, Michael (Penn Badgley). Arousing male viewers, meanwhile, is Michael’s girlfriend, Kelly (Amber Heard), whose wardrobe seems to be nothing but bikinis and underwear. That’ll get the blood flowing.

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