The Step Father (2009) Review
To clarify, this review again is of the recent Stepfather that just came out last year. It is now on DVD.
The Stepfather is a good movie to watch when you want to learn about movie clichés. It contains almost every cliché in the psychological thriller genre. Such as the knife; it always seems that the bad guy in these movies has to have a butcher knife as a killing weapon. Butcher knife: Check. Next, you have “he seems innocent at first, and then he slowly begins to change into his true self.” Check. At first glance, The Stepfather seems like the ideal suburban father, which makes almost everyone around him fall in love with him. Other movies of the genre with this arc: The Good Son, Orphan, Domestic Disturbance, This Boy’s Life. He’s clean cut, seemingly hard worker, (contact) blue eyes. The guy you would not suspect is really the murderer of the film. The last one I will point out is “The fake scare.” This is in practically every horror film, where there is a hand on the main character’s shoulder, and for a second you think it is the killer, but actually it is just a friend.
Now, dwelling on the clichés of a movie might sound very stupid, and normally I just look past it. However, they are just so great in number in The Stepfather to where it is really noticeable, and throughout the movie it just gives you this feeling of serious “Déjà Vu.” In other words, The Stepfather really just does not bring anything new to the table in terms of story and screenplay.
The character development is not that great. All of the characters in the film are as shallow as a puddle; we have the main guy, the blonde bombshell who’s sole purpose in the film is to be eye candy for the males, and the desperate mother who does not believe the son, which I will get to.
Next you have the objectification of women; Amber Heard, the main lady of the film, is practically half-naked throughout the whole flick, either in underwear or bikini. Now, it may sound really odd of me, a guy, to complain about this, but thinking from the girl’s perspective I would think it is objectifying and embarrassing; also I am not dumb enough to be distracted by that alone, so it really makes me think that the producers did not have much confidence in the film, and felt they could distract the audience with some eye candy.
The icing on the cake is the overall predictability of the film. Our main man is Michael, who just returned from Military reform school. He arrives home to his new daddy, and he already gets bad vibes from this seemingly docile and innocent man. You already know that in the Climax, the two gentlemen will ultimately end up in a showdown. Like in all these movies, the mother is too blinded by desperation and love for her mysterious new beau, and when the hero tries to warn her about his antagonist’s intention, she looks the other way. All of this is topped off by an anti-climactic ending that almost makes everything the character accomplished in the movie to be in vain, and seems to set the flick up for an inevitable sequel.
With all that said The Stepfather can be enjoyable; not so much from the thriller perspective, but I found it rather laughable. And the movie did offer a couple rare suspenseful moments and “gotcha” moments. Overall, The Stepfather did have potential, but perhaps poorly executed. I know that it is hard to be original these days, but why make a film if it is just a rehash of everything we have seen before? Now, back in the 80s this was probably an original idea that worked out better, but when you see this remake today, you will not be that entertained. I deem this as one of those movies you would rent at the video store when all the good thriller flicks are rented out, or one of those movies you and your boyfriend/girlfriend go to just to make out.