In a Nutshell. Mini reviews of movies old and new. Minimum words. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional trout.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Stepfather (2009)

After the lackluster remake of Prom Night (2008), the extensive television director Nelson McCormick takes a crack at another genre film in The Stepfather. Fortunately, he does it justice by recreating some of the more memorable aspects and scenes from the 1987 original. After returning home, son Michael (Penn Badgley) finds his mother (Sela Ward) set to marry a new man (Dylan Walsh) after only being divorced for six months. Wary, Michael soon discovers he's really a chameleonic psychopath who preys on families. In an effort to portray a more nuclear household, it fails in showcasing every child's tribulations in the wake of the stepfather's breakdown. Dylan Walsh, in a somewhat corny performance, does a fine job as the visibly stable yet irreversibly damaged David Harris. The tension is built slowly, allowing the audience to invest in the characters before the stepfather's unrealistic family ideal eventually unravels. The more his bloody past is revealed, the more the Hardings see his composure splinter. But unfortunately a poorly constructed conclusion caps off this surprisingly effective remake.

3 disappointments out of 5

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