Today’s Prayer Focus

The Stepfather

also known as “Step Father,” “The Step-Father,” “Asesino en casa,” “Le beau-père,” “Ocim”
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, mature thematic material and brief sensuality.

Reviewed by: Katie Thomas

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Psychological Thriller Remake
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 16, 2009 (wide—2,700+ theaters)
DVD: February 9, 2010
Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sin and the Bible



FEAR, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

Featuring Dylan Walsh
“Nip/Tuck” (TV series), “Congo,” “The Lake House

Sela Ward
The Fugitive,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “The Guardian

Penn Badgley
John Tucker Must Die,” “The Young and the Restless” (TV series)

Amber Heard
Never Back Down,” “Pineapple Express,” “Zombieland

Sherry Stringfield, Paige Turco, Jon Tenney, Nancy Linehan Charles, Marcuis Harris, Braeden Lemasters, Deirdre Lovejoy, Skyler Samuels, Blue Deckert, Jason Wiles, Kara Briola, Jessalyn Gilsig, Cathy Schenkelberg, David Guzzone, Amandah Reyne, Carmen Mormino, Todd Cosgrove, Tracey Costello, Cheryl Anderson, Pride Grinn, Sean Moran, Jack Chang, Savannah Levin, Savannah Lathem, Vitaliy Versace
Director Nelson McCormick
Producer Granada Entertainment, Imprint Entertainment, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), J.S. Cardone, Jay Dykes, Robert O. Green, Greg Mooradian, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary, Meredith Zamsky
Distributor Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Entertainment

“This fall Daddy’s home.”

To put it simply, the trailers make this film look much better than it is. I mistakenkt believeed that this could possibly be one as intelligent as “Mr. Brooks” or “Fracture.” Even for its genre, “The Stepfather” is sub-par.

David is a serial killer who preys on divorced or widowed women and their families. He meets Susan in a grocery store and moves in less than six months later, when her son Michael returns home from military school. The two leading men struggle with Susan’s ignorance and family tension, each protective of their own interests. Michael, along with his aunt and birth father, suspect that David is connected to the disappearance of the elderly neighbor woman when they notice some strange behavior.

The plot is predictable the whole way through, without so much as a twist or surprise ending. The script remains strong for each character, despite the fact that David’s motivation for his cycle of violence is unknown, and nothing is revealed regarding where his anger stems from. He remains one-dimensional, along with the youngest children, the girl rarely being seen. We get a strong understanding of each character, including the absent father, through actions and dialogue. It is a shame that the focal point of the film is left with so many holes.

Violence—Not to give away any plot points, but one of David’s victims is thrown down a stairway, one gagged with a plastic bag, and one drowned in a swimming pool. The climax held more suspense than blood, keeping contact at a minimum. At one point, someone is stabbed with broken glass, and a table saw is used to threaten David away. Some punching and kicking is involved with the struggle.

Language/sex/nudity—The film remains fairly clean throughout, while there were many scenes with Kelly, Michael’s girlfriend, wearing nothing but a bikini, often swimming and kissing heavily. There were only a few counts of cursing, the heaviest being about four counts of “God damn,” and some scattered, lighter profanities, such as “piss,” “screw” and the s-word.

The most offensive behavior, however, stemmed from the hearts of the characters. The film obviously revolves around the issue of lying and deceit, from minor acts such as hiding liquor in the basement, to covering up heartless murders. Child abuse is brought up in a couple of scenes, starting when David grabs Sean’s neck as discipline. Susan and Jay have a bit of bitter dialogue to show their disrespectful relationship after the divorce, and she is seen at the bar with her sisters later. Susan does not listen to reason from her sisters or her children throughout the film, and cuts them off with her excuses and misled emotions concerning the dangerous man she has brought into their lives.

As a whole, I would not recommend this film, equally as much for its content as for the mere lack of depth and overuse of clichés.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I enjoyed the movie, as a mother. I took my 16 yr. old daughter to see it, and it was thrilling and suspenseful, but not overly violent. It was a overall clean film. I am particular on the movies I take my daughter to, but this one I enjoyed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
Machel, age 45 (USA)
Positive—From a movie perspective, this one was a good thriller. Though no Christian would approve of the step father’s behavior, you know going into this movie what you are going to get. For Hollywood movies, there could have been a lot more sex scenes and more language but they kept to the script of building suspense instead. This film is not for younger audiences, but is a good flick for those who like suspense and thriller type moves without a lot of violence and gore.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
M Jordan, age 61 (USA)
Positive—This movie was great! I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. It was an intense movie that had you on the edge of your seat. Overall, it was pretty clean, and it was just really enjoyable to watch. I’d totally recommend it to anyone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Joe, age 19 (USA)


Comments from young people