Running Time: 101 minutes
Starring: Dylan Walsh, Amber Heard, Sela Ward, Penn Badgley
Directed By: Nelson McCormick
Rating: 3 out of 10
OutlineA perfect family with a perfect Stepfather seems more perfect than it actually is.
Stepparents have had a notoriously hard time in cinematic history. Usually they are portrayed as wicked, evil, deviant, individuals that disdain their step children. If they are not busy hating the world in the movies than they are usually stricken with some sort of terminal illness. So it won’t surprise you that the stepfather in this movie David Harris (Walsh), doesn’t seem to be as nice as he is coming across. The story center’s around a recently divorced woman Susan Harding (Ward) and her three children. She has found the supposedly perfect man in David Harris and after a 6 month whirlwind romance they are engaged to be married. That is until Susan’s oldest son Michael (Badgley) returns from military school an upsets the status quo. This film with the movie killer rating of PG-13 failed time and time again to frighten or even captivate its audience. Nothing was more disheartening though than the stepfather David Harris, and the performance of that role by Dylan Walsh. His good guy stepfather shtick of nothing is more important than family is delivered in almost a William Shatner like quality. The character will convince no one and it gets stale very quickly. It was a major distraction and makes you think creepy weirdo right away instead of loving stepfather. He also has way too many unexplainable tendencies that no one in their right mind would gloss over. Like owning huge locked cabinets in the basement and having fears of being photographed. The story also degenerates faster than what can be considered believable. The family is living in sort of this dream world of happiness and bliss for half a year and it fractures in a matter of days. No one questions David’s creepy weird tendencies until the troubled son Michael comes home and that was a little much. The film with very little thought to detail and direction introduced random plot twists and characters to try and drive the thriller aspect but nothing worked. Friends, family, even neighbors for some reason all conspired to bring David Harris and his unknown past into the light. Nothing director Nelson McCormick did could be construed as good film watching. He clearly shows he should stick to directing television because this film was a write off. All I can say that I liked about this film is that it was an easy watch in terms of flow and time length. The acting for the most part was passable when it needed to be but this film had nothing to make it memorable. The Leave it to Beaver vibe transforming into the Domestic Disturbance vibe was painfully boring and obvious. When you could care less about the characters on film then you could care even less when they are being attacked. I cannot recommend this film because it was a mess from start to finish. Also by calling it a thriller insults Michael Jackson’s music video.
T Factor + If you do not need highly suspenseful scenes in your thrillers then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need strong character development in your movies than this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Psycho, Domestic Disturbance.