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The Stepfather

4.3 3
Director: Nelson McCormick

Cast: Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Penn Badgley


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When a teenage boy (Penn Badgley) begins to suspect that his new stepfather (Dylan Walsh) is a notorious serial killer who preys on broken families, he races to gather the evidence that will back up his radical claim before it's too late. The 1987 thriller that shot Lost star


When a teenage boy (Penn Badgley) begins to suspect that his new stepfather (Dylan Walsh) is a notorious serial killer who preys on broken families, he races to gather the evidence that will back up his radical claim before it's too late. The 1987 thriller that shot Lost star Terry O'Quinn to cult stardom serves as inspiration for this remake penned by J.S. Cardone and directed by Nelson McCormick. Sela Ward, Jon Tenney, and Amber Heard co-star in a Screen Gems release.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
While the original version of The Stepfather may not be remembered with quite the same familiarity as its fellows in 1980s horror, the movie still holds a spot within the genre. Its suit-and-tie-wearing sociopath killed with a cold efficiency that was just as terrifying, albeit quieter, than his machete-wielding brethren. The remake, at times, is able to tap into the sense of unease elicited by killers that mix well with society -- but, for the most part, it's a bland, if passable, psychological thriller. The Stepfather begins as Grady Edwards (also known as David Harris in the film, among other aliases, played by Dylan Walsh) calmly exits his suburban home, where his latest family, having failed to meet his expectations, lies dead, scattered about the Christmas decorations. The killer has his routine down to a science: find a harried single mother in a public place, utter a few witticisms, pretend to be a widower, imitate all the hallmarks of an ideal courtship, and quickly take over the role of father and husband. Eventually, he believes, he'll stumble across the right fit. When he meets Susan (Sela Ward), a recent divorcée, and two of her children in a grocery store, he has high hopes that they're the family he's been searching for. This is all made clear within the first 15 minutes of the film -- and those 15 minutes have potential. The film, as well as Edwards' plans, however, starts to unravel when he meets Michael Harding (Penn Badgley), Susan's son, fresh from a stint at military school, and his girlfriend, Kelly (Amber Heard). It's not that either of the young actors does a particularly bad job with what they were told to do, but most of their interactions are limited to frolicking by the pool, posing prettily in swimsuits, making out, and alluding to the possibility that Michael will have to return to military school in the fall. Though there are some genuinely tense moments as Michael begins to realize there's something seriously amiss, it doesn't take away from the feeling that a teen romance was hastily tacked on to draw a larger audience. The script doesn't help matters -- it's hard to believe Michael would notice that there's something too practiced about his soon-to-be stepfather's schtick when the rest of the dialogue is just as plastic. Ward and Walsh do manage to turn in two strong performances, both putting across a palpable, desperate desire for the perfect life, which manifests itself in denial for one, and murder for the other. There are several modern tweaks -- browser history, text messaging, and telltale ringtones, to name a few -- that bump the tension up a notch, but not enough to make The Stepfather much more than mildly entertaining.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Gag reel; Commentary with Penn Badgley, Dylan Walsh and director Nelson McCormick; "Open House: Making the Film" featurette; "Visualizing the Stunts" featurette

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dylan Walsh David Harris
Sela Ward Susan Harding
Penn Badgley Michael Harding
Amber Heard Kelly Porter
Sherry Stringfield Leah
Paige Turco Jackie Kerns
Jon Tenney Jay
Nancy Linehan Charles Mrs. Cutter
Marcuis Harris Detective Shay
Skyler Samuels Beth Harding
Braeden Lemasters Sean Harding
Deirdre Lovejoy Detective Tylar
Blue Deckert Captain Mackie
Jason Wiles Dylan Bennet
Kara Briola Real Estate Assistant
Jessalyn Gilsig Julie King
Cathy Schenkelberg Waitress
David Guzzone Male Buyer
Amanda Reyne Woman Buyer
Carmen Mormino Taxi Driver
Todd Cosgrove Mailman
Tracey Costello Mrs. Rivers
Cheryl Anderson Older Woman
Pride Grinn Car Salesman
Sean Moran Gus/Hardware Clerk
Jack Chang Cell Phone Clerk
Savannah Levin Lisa Bennet

Technical Credits
Nelson McCormick Director
Eric L. Beason Editor
Camille Bratkowski Set Decoration/Design
Patrick Cady Cinematographer
J.S. Cardone Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Charlie Clouser Score Composer
Jay Dykes Co-producer
Timothy J. Eckel Art Director
Michael Friedman Musical Direction/Supervision
Brian Garfield Original Story
Robert O. Green Executive Producer
Steven Jordan Production Designer
Bryan Lane Set Decoration/Design
Lisa London Casting
Julie Meldal-Johnsen Executive Producer
Barbara Mesney Set Decoration/Design
Greg Mooradian Producer
Mark Morgan Producer
Guy Oseary Executive Producer
Lyn Elizabeth Paolo Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael L. Phillips Asst. Director
Carolyn Starin Original Story
Catherine Stroud Casting
James Tocci Set Decoration/Design
Donald E. Westlake Original Story
Jeff Wischnack Special Effects Supervisor
Meredith Zamsky Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Stepfather
1. Chapter 1 [5:06]
2. Chapter 2 [3:38]
3. Chapter 3 [4:25]
4. Chapter 4 [3:35]
5. Chapter 5 [1:55]
6. Chapter 6 [2:58]
7. Chapter 7 [2:38]
8. Chapter 8 [4:40]
9. Chapter 9 [3:27]
10. Chapter 10 [4:40]
11. Chapter 11 [3:15]
12. Chapter 12 [2:45]
13. Chapter 13 [3:51]
14. Chapter 14 [2:58]
15. Chapter 15 [4:34]
16. Chapter 16 [2:43]
17. Chapter 17 [4:02]
18. Chapter 18 [3:08]
19. Chapter 19 [2:54]
20. Chapter 20 [2:29]
21. Chapter 21 [2:27]
22. Chapter 22 [3:54]
23. Chapter 23 [3:01]
24. Chapter 24 [3:24]
25. Chapter 25 [3:30]
26. Chapter 26 [4:00]
27. Chapter 27 [5:13]
28. Chapter 28 [6:38]


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The Stepfather 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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