I haven’t seen the 1987 original of which the 2009 film The Stepfather is a re-make, but the new version offers both the positive and negative aspects of psychological thrillers and it’s as interesting to discuss those issues as to talk about the film itself.
But as to the film, Dylan Walsh plays Grady Edwards, who as the opening credits roll calmly disguises himself as he walks away from a home which has became a crime scene – he has murdered his family. A weakness of the film is that we never know why. The man is deliberately elusive, but the script should (in my opinion) have offered more insight into his make-up.
Calling himself David Harris, he quickly befriends an attractive divorced woman who decides he is perfect and invites him into her life and her family. Only her older son has suspicions – on which the son’s girlfriend, played by the frequently bikini-clad Amber Heard, unwisely pours scorn. The stepfather takes great pains to hide his identity and not be photographed, yet stupidly gives himself away by forgetting his story about his false past.
In essence, this is a formulaic movie, but quite well done. Was it a mistake to make it clear from the outset that Harris is a baddie? I think so. Was it unwise not to portray the characters in more depth? Undoubtedly. Yet I kept watching – the action is well-paced and not unduly prolonged. The final scene suggests a sequel is in the offing. Will I watch it? Perhaps.