Avoiding predictability in movies, especially within the horror genre is a difficult and sometimes near impossible task. Throwing a surprise or two at the audience is very much appreciated.
The producers of The Stepfather went with a completely different formula. Give away everything before the credits are over.
Let's break this pile of shit down.
First off, the movie poster / cover for The Stepfather depicts said replacement parent in a less than benevolent light... that being standing at the top of the cellar stairs brandishing a large piece of cutlery while his replacement or current family cower in fear within the shadows. Now before having even watched a second of this cinematic masterpiece, my first thought was that this man was not one of high moral standard. Seriously, this would be like putting a cock and balls on the cover of The Crying Game. However, let's not judge a book by it's cover.
As I said before, during the credits, we see the Stepfather (played by Dylan Walsh of Nip / Tuck and Congo fame) going through a fairly standard morning ritual that includes the shower, shave, cup of coffee, breakfast and the murder of your wife and three step children. Then he exits the home as the credits close.
A movie about a Stepfather that's a complete dick? Wow there's a fucking stretch.
So what have we learned so far? One, the Stepfather is a murdering asshole. Two, he will soon be bringing his act to a new household where he will attempt to murder everyone there. Three, Nip / Tuck should have been canceled after the third episode.
The Stepfather wastes little time introducing us to the new family through the eyes of the eldest son who is returning from a brief stint at a military school due to the fact that he's an asshole. His mother, siblings and of course the Stepfather welcome him home with open arms.
Initially all seems well, as the Stepfather attempts to ingratiate himself with his new family by preaching family values, doing cool favors for the eldest son (for the record the actor that played him will probably never be in another movie so why waste Google's time by making it searchable here) and treating the younger kids to ice cream and fun! YAY!
Then slowly the wheels begin to come off, and the Stepfather begins going down the road we expect to him... and of course the only one wise to this is the asshole older son.
This is the one thing about horror / thriller movies I can't stand. There is always a character that seems to realize something is wrong with their current situation, and after coming to an intelligent conclusion, voices their opinion to a friend or family member. Normally this individual has a shaky past, which may include substance abuse, rebelling against authority, or perhaps even incarceration... essentially anything that will completely strip them of any credibility and makes believing them difficult to near impossible. Even when these individuals amass piles of evidence, calls for concern are laughed off as ridiculous and eventually shouted down as an indicator of their own poor judgment. The exchange will often unfold like this:
"I saw him kill our mother!"
- "Ohyou are being silly."
"I'm serious, he did it with this knife!"
- "Come on that's ridiculous."
"Mom's blood is still on the blade!"
- "That is most likely ketchup, now stop being such an ass."
"I've got the whole murder right here on video!"
- "That's it, I don't want to hear another word."
Eventually, the Stepfather's charade begins to fall apart and he has to begin Project : Slaughter Entire Family, which of course has everyone saying "Holy shit you were right, he really is a murderous asshole killer".... "We never should have doubted you". Throw in a few sequences of cat and mouse through the house, the family working together to avoid the Stepfather and his knife, and finish it up with and epic battle against the oldest son which ends in both combatants crashing through the pool house. Of course when the authorities arrive, the Stepfather's body is nowhere to be found. Why? Because he's left to seek employment at Home Depot... seriously.
In any case, the whole time I was watching this formulaic piece of shit, I thought to myself, this movie could have been spectacular with only a few minor changes. Instead of a brutal killer, wouldn't it have been great if the Stepfather actually turned out to be a great guy? A stepfather that was a giving and caring man. A stepfather that loved his new wife, and her children unconditionally? A stepfather who was a friend and not trying to replace the father of his wife's children? A stepfather who was well-liked and perhaps even friends with his wife's ex-husband? Maybe even a stepfather who is a great cook that calls to his family currently engaged in a game of hide and seek in the basement prior to carving the turkey on the table?
A stepfather as a good guy. Now that would have been a shocking movie. Perhaps even completely unbelievable.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,