Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Stepfather

Can we get a background check please? This is a movie about a serial killer who enjoys and relishes eliminated entire families. He drives around the country, searching for a single mother with kids who is eager to delegate some responsibility to someone else. This could be when a woman is most vulnerable and is so happy another man would be willing to help her raise children that are not his.

Dylan Walsh is David Harris who is seemingly a white collar regular man. But he has implemented an entire range of sinister plots. The police can not locate him or pinpoint his movements because he has used cash for years, he does not allow his ID to be compromised and he is exceptional at covering his tracks. When he grows tired of the family, he shoots the family dead in their home since he is a cold blooded killer.

His latest prey is the family of Susan Harding played by the pretty older brunette known as Sela Ward. Susan has two sons and one of them has returned from a military High School and it was not because he wants to become the next Joe Navy. Apparently he has had some discipline problems. It probably stemmed from his parent's tumultuous divorce which is still causing some ripples in the family. Michael Harding, portrayed by Penn Badgley, is this young man who has apparently burned some bridges with his High School and his former swim coach. He was banned from using the pool and the surrounding facilities. David, his looming stepfather, drove over to the school and spoke to the swimming coach on Michael's behalf. This leveling out allowed Michael to swim in the summer which could eventually allow him to rejoin the team.

The main reason I wanted to watch this movie is because the gorgeous Amber Heard is in this film. She is not Jennifer Love Hewitt and never will be but she smokes Kirst Dunst and acts better than Jessica Alba. Amber is Kelly Porter in this film and she is the girlfriend of Michael. David does not approve of the open and carefree relationship of theirs. I am not sure most parents would be happy with them practically making love when they are home as well. I doubt they would be too happy with them groping each other right before dinner in the swimming pool. His mother is happy with it, she is cleary too liberal which is what is putting her family in dangers. All families, with this same line of reasoning.

The father may be a terminator type killer and is, he kills the elderly neighbor across the street who watched America's Most Wanted and sees some resemblance, but he does believe in corporal punishment. Susan, is trying to make dinner but is distracted by the sound of her younger son playing a video game extremely loud. Rather than walk up the stairs and force him to turn down the volume, she chooses to holler from the kitchen, setting a terrible example. Her son would not even hear her scream because the video game was turned up so high. David walks in and squeezes his neck. The son was being inconsiderate and David did not even hit him, he just put some pressure on him. But the youngest son, being coddled his entire life, spoiled, a fool version of a momma's boy wined to his real father and they almost ended up banging heads one evening. Susan was highly agitated and acted like corporate punishment was barbaric. She is the one who had a teenage son who was acting out of control trying to fight the mailman and neighbor's tree. This was not shown but insinuated. This is why he was sent to high school boot camp. David was correct, there is nothing wrong with corporal punishment.

Amber plays Kelly Porter who is trying to live a normal life, applying to college, and preparing for her final High School year. The movie has her in a bikini throughout the movie, which is fine.

Michael does not help around the house much, that is for sure. Two sons and they help out as much as some dust lying around on the dining room table.

David is a sophisticated maniac. Any threat he eliminates. His life is highly stressful though. His previous family he was silently stalking, he was there for a couple of years. This family, he is on pace to have to snuff them out by the end of summer or risk the police being notified. David makes some mistakes with his made up story, he is really sloppy. For instance, during lunch season with Michael, he screws up the name of his supposed dead daughter. I guess he is passed his prime into disgusting career. David is a true sociopath.

The final fight scene is intense. The oldest son is just suspicious for numerous reasons. His real father is not sure about this stepfather, especially after he lied about swimming for the Univ. of Oregon about 20 years prior. One of Susan's friends is suspicious as well especially when David is really reluctant to hand over private information about himself for his job. David kills this woman and eliminates the real father. He hides this body in the basement freezer. Susan is not suspicious this man she just met has a series of closets and doors in the basement with locks on them?

As expected, the oldest son and Michael fight it out. Susan inflicts a serious wound by stabbing him with some glass into his neck. Rather than escape down the stairs and outside, they rejoice like idiots. Typical asinine movie characters. This leads to the Michael and David showdown. Michael is defending his mother and his lovely girlfriend-Kelly. Kelly did not want Michael investigating David at all since she felt that would upset his mother and she would be compelled to send him off to military loser camp/school. Which she may have been right about.

David and Michael end up on the roof, in a rain storm, fighting it out. Michael has him beat but then Hollywood pulls out is bag of tricks, and this trick has been used countless times. It is like a revolving door. David is pushed off the roof, but when Michael looks down over the edge, David grabs him out of no where and pulls him down with him. This same scene has been rescripted so many times, it is as tired General Motors. The woman have called the police. David somehow has the energy and stamina to escape. He just vanishes. I can believe the neighbors not being alerted to this frantic fight since the homes are large and there is a powerful rainstorm ensuing. Michael ends up in a coma which lasted an entire month. The final scene has David working in a home improvement store looking for his next target.

This movie has some pretty good music. The cast is solid. The storyline is creaive, I do not remember anything exactly like this. It does show the vulnerable state of woman and the hazards of getting married too quickly.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

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