February 6, 2010

Review: The Stepfather (2009)

Another in a string of pointless remakes, The Stepfather is a glossy, stylized, well-cast movie that lacks just about everything that made the original so damned awesome.

As far as remakes go, it's near impossible to re-do anything that's unique or iconic, because you just can't capture that kind of lightning in a bottle twice. In this case, that missing lightning is painfully apparent with the absence of Terry O'Quinn. There is an intensity and a creepy air of underlying menace that lives inside of Terry O'Quinn, and he can emote in so many different ways, and do so beautifully and effortlessly when he needs to. Subtly, even.
But this guy?
Trying to replace him with the guy from Nip Tuck though, is just wrong. No offense to the Nip Tuck guy, because he's pretty good on that show, but but he just doesn't have what it takes to pull a role like this off, especially when he's following in the shoes of a guy like O'Quinn. There's just nothing menacing about him, and it's really hard for us to accept him as being dangerous or frightening at all.

Amber Heard is good here, as are Sela Ward, Paige Turco and Jon Tenney, but they are working with very little along the lines of good material, which pretty much renders them useless, and leaves them doing little more than spinning their on-screen wheels.

You could argue that the only reason that the 1987 original was so effective, was because of the performance of Terry O'Quinn alone. He pretty much makes LOST perfect for me every week, and it's because he seems so damned likable and sweet, and yet he can switch on a dime to dangerous and creepy. Just look at the picture below.

See what I mean? .
In short, this remake lacks the thrills and tension needed to make the story a good watch. It's got jump scares, and an unconvincing lead, which make it even worse. Maybe if there had been no original movie that was so good on its own... but there was. You should really just go rent that version instead.

Hollywood's biggest mistake when it comes to Horror movie remakes is that they think that they can update and water down old ideas, and the teen demographic will just flock to them in droves. I can see how some things could use an update, and how audiences may appreciate a classic tale in a new form every now and then, but you can't forget to include the elements that made the original so compelling in the first place.

That is the story with this bland, tepid remake. It's shiny and flashy, but it just doesn't have any teeth.

Sela Ward and Paige Turco are still pretty hot, and you already know about Amber Heard...

No comments :

Post a Comment