Movie Review: The Stepfather (2009)

There’s something about horror movies from around 2010… With a few exceptions, like the Conjuring, they’re almost always very “of that time.” There’s no escaping the low-rise jeans, the stereotypical gamer kid, and genre tropes by the dozens. It feels like everybody was making the exact same type of movies, with jump scares, shallow characters, and confusing plot developments.

Well, this movie has all of those things, and very few redeeming factors. I sure hope the original (from the ’80s) was better, but I doubt it.

This Guy

This guy is the “main guy” of the movie. And no, he does not make it better.


The movie begins with a pretty effective opening scene. The premise is nothing new, but it’s done well at first. It opens with a nice jolt: we immediately see the dad, after killing an entire family (his?), making some breakfast and leaving the house as if for work. So yeah, a good beginning, some shock factor.

And no, I didn’t spoil anything. It’s literally the first thing shown in the movie. Which brings me to my main point…


This “stepfather” just isn’t scary. I’ve seen some stepfathers in real life that are plenty scarier than him. He’s certainly cold and detached, but scary? Nah. There’s no mystery to him (or to any of this movie.) Just another in-your-face, cooking-some-eggs, flexing-my-jaw murderer.

This Plot

Yikes. If there’s one phrase that would 100% describe this plot, it’s generic.

I mean…

Nothing surprising ever happens. Literally. I wish I could’ve bet money on this movie’s plot progression because I’d be a millionaire (or at least out of college debt).

You’ve got this back-from-the-army son (predictable) with a blonde girlfriend and a fierce desire to kick his stepdad’s butt. Whatever you’re assuming the ending will be, you’re probably right, because it’s the most obvious choice possible.

They even had the audacity to throw in the stupidest freaking cliffhanger I’ve ever seen. My fiance and I laughed for at least five minutes. I watched the whole movie with subdued interest to see if any of these fools survived, and honestly, that cliffhanger was so dumb it made it worth it. 10/10. Gold stars. You did it.


*sigh* The dad does manage to build some tension, I guess. He can just snap at any moment, so it makes for a couple (a couple) of interesting scenes. The son (played by the serial killer from YOU; maybe he should’ve been the killer in this one, too?) plays the role well. The most enjoyable scenes are where those two square off. Their subtle mind-games are fun.

And, hey, at least this movie is short. That always makes up for some of the flaws (but not all).

Overall: 4.1/10

This movie is full of overly-masculine jaw flexes and weird doors. It has the single dumbest cliffhanger I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t have any heart. It has plenty of plot holes (how are his fingerprints not everywhere? Do fingerprints not exist?)

It also has a few decent jump scares, some creepy glares, and in the end it just leaves you slightly amused. So, it just barely stays out of the sub-4.0 club.

Let’s be honest. At least I didn’t have to watch Krampus again.



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