DVD: The Stepfather (15)

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The Independent Culture

The original Stepfather was a guilty pleasure, full of sly wit, an exquisitely deranged turn from Terry O'Quinn and no little tension.

Nelson McCormick's remake of Joseph Ruben's 1987 chiller is insipid by comparison. Dylan Walsh plays David, the stepfather who attaches himself to single mums, marries them and then wipes out their family when they, inevitably, "disappoint" him. It works on the premise that his soon-to-be wed/dead wives are sensationally dim – how else to explain Sela Ward's Susan forgiving David for placing his hands around her younger son's throat. The oldest son (in the original it was the daughter, which was better as it evoked Hitchkock's Shadow of a Doubt) soon twigs that Dave's a loon. Anyone else who does – the cat-lover across the road, mom's lesbian friend – is disposed of in quick fashion. A very silly remake.