I looked it up on imdb to find out who was responsible for this dreck and when it turned out to be the writer/director duo behind that other pile of a remake, Prom Night, it all made sense. The OG Stepfather (1987) is of a Lifetime Movie ilk, to be sure, but at least it has some fucking bite to it, largely thanks to Terry O'Quinn in the lead role. The dude is intense! He puts on a smiling face for his new family, but it's easy to see there's a psychopath lurking juuuust underneath the surface. I can't say that the eunuch-i-fication of the film is solely the fault of Dylan Walsh as the titular stepdad- he's just working with what he's given, after all, and what he's given is a big, fat nothing.
I know "eunuch-i-fication" doesn't really make sense, but for serious- it's as if writer J.S. Cardone and director Nelson McCormick took the original film and castrated it. Then they lobotomized it and sent it off into the world in a daze. The Stepfather is everything horror fans hate about PG13 remakes- a boring, generic "rock" soundtrack used way too often; boring, generic TV actors,...a boring, generic plot...and boring, generic violence without a drop of blood. I don't mean to imply that I need my horror movies to be full of graphic violence, because I don't. In my review of the original film, here's what I said about the topic:
The violence in The Stepfather is shocking. It's not explicit per se, nor does it permeate the film...but when it comes on it comes out of nowhere with a viciousness that's really sold by O'Quinn. He doesn't just hit someone with a piece of wood- he lets loose and beats them to death. Jerry doesn't hold back, and in a sense he's far more depraved than even Jason Voorhees.In the remake, there's none of that viciousness. Without it, The Stepfather is nothing but a tepid, sub-par made-for-TV movie, akin to eating a white rice on Wonder bread sandwich.
One thing that anyone with eyes will notice while watching The Stepfather, however, is the curious nature of Amber Heard in this film- basically, that she is straight-up exploitation eye candy. Her character is the girlfriend of the boy who does battle with the stepfather...nothing noteworthy in this type of film, to be sure. But it's been a while since that type of throw-away character has been so blatantly objectified, it's actually amusing. At least it adds the slightest dash of salaciousness to this boring affair. As one imdb user put it:
The plot isn't worth discussing. There's nothing here that we haven't seen before. What IS worth discussing is the director's obvious decision to exploit Amber Heard's lovely figure in one long never ending cheesecake sequence. You could make the argument that the ONLY reason this film was even made in the first place was to launch Amber into the stratosphere of blogworthy sex symbols (not unlike what Michael Bay managed to do with Megan Fox). You'll see Amber in her underwear lounging in bed, Amber in her itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini, gratuitous close-ups of her splendid anatomy, etc. This exploitation becomes so flagrant that it distracts from the story itself, which is probably a good thing.
This is seriously the only time she's fully-clothed in the film, doing some High Tension shit! Don't worry, there's no blood.
Hey, do you guys remember that time in 2009 when they remade The Stepfather and everybody kind of ignored it and then I totally forgot that it existed? Me too! Let's go back to that.