Giving an acting class in oozing smarmy charm while imploding with pent-up underlying rage, an ideally cast Dylan Walsh pitches it just right as a scary schizo serial killer who sets up home with fatherless families, then slaughters the lot when his authority is challenged.
Penn Badgley (from Gossip Girl) is convincing and handsome enough as the rebellious young family member Michael Harding, who returns home from military school to find his mother (Sela Ward) is living with the creepy David Harris (Walsh), now her new boyfriend, about whom he gets increasingly suspicious.
Director Nelson McCormick’s 2009 chiller remake of the original 1987 The Stepfather is contrived – very contrived. But it is pretty well done, and, after loads of mounting tension and several mounting corpses, it bursts into satisfyingly frenzied action at the end. It is no award winner, but it grips, entertains and basically does the job.
J.S. Cardone provides the screenplay, adapting Donald E. Westlake’s earlier screenplay. Amber Heard also stars as Kelly Porter.
It did quite well: $11 million cost, $29 million US gross.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4416
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