8 April 2010 | IheartCali5882
Not a great film but I kinda sorta enjoyed it =)
I have a strict policy that states movies featuring either (a) a cat suddenly jumping out from a corner accompanied by an ominous sounding music chord or (b) a mirror that is empty of anyone but one character who turns away, then turns back and suddenly sees the killer in the mirror behind them...well these movies are only going to be so good. This movie has both, within about 60 seconds of each other. In spite of this, I have to say it's really not all that bad. I've seen many people complaining about the lack of originality, but when you're remaking a horror film from the 80's, it's almost inevitable that you're going to give the audience something they've seen before. That wasn't really bothersome to me though because the characters and anticipation overshadowed it for the most part.
Dylan Walsh plays the stepfather in a role that was actually likable for the first part of the film. He meets a single mom played by Sela Ward and all is picture perfect until her bad boy son comes home from military school. We only know he's bad by the way because someone tells us. He's a pretty normal, well adjusted kid considering that his dad is no longer around and his mother has engaged herself to a stranger in the span of 6 months. Far as I could tell, his behavior is still within normal range. It might have made for a more interesting film though if he really was a wild child.
So past that everyone knows what follows with the story. There is not a lot of gratuitous violence; even the killing scenes are low key which I don't really mind. If anyone is looking for lots of gore and clever death shots, this is not the film for them. The excitement is in the buildup, the experience of the characters finding out for themselves who the stepfather really is; especially when you have the one obligatory character, in this case the wayward son, who seems to intuit everything about the man from the first time he sets eyes on him. That standard plot device, a character who has it all figured out and NO ONE will believe him, well it's beyond old but it's moderately effective here.
The mindless and unnecessary adolescent dialogue, together with the many gratuitous bikini shots of the son's pale and too skinny girlfriend, tend to bring the quality of the film down. They were neither necessary nor helpful. But if you can look past that and the lack of originality (is it fair to expect that in this film really?) then you'll find an adequate film that's worth a couple hours of your time. I've seen much worse in the horror/thrillers in the past few years.