If there’s one token rule of filmmaking no filmmaker should ever forget, it’s that sequels, remakes and rip-offs of remakes are rarely viable as theatrical material. Unfortunately, the allure of easy money has apparently induced amnesia in certain members of the film industry, and we are now confronted with the unfortunate consequences.

“The Stepfather”

At Quality 16 and Showcase
Screen Gems

“The Stepfather” is many things — generous parts “Disturbia,” “The Shining” and of course, the original “Stepfather.” All of these films contribute to the abhorrent hodgepodge that is the sequel, but neither “scary” nor even “mildly thrilling” would describe the film.

The story begins when Michael Harding (Penn Badgley, “Gossip Girl”) returns from military school to reconnect with family and friends. Upon arriving, he discovers that his mother Susan (Sela Ward, “House M.D.”) has fallen for a new lover named David Harris (Dylan Walsh, “Nip/Tuck”) and has remarried. At first, Michael’s homecoming follows the status quo until he begins to suspect that his new stepfather may be hiding sordid details of his past life.

Every aspect of the movie is slow, boring, and trivial from start to finish. Even the purportedly “shocking” sequences have no marked effect other than begging the question, “Haven’t I seen this before?” Unfortunately, that nauseating sensation of déjà vu is perfectly justifiable.

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