Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 302: The Stepfather (1987) - Rank 4/5


I've always been a fan of Terry O'Quinn (and this is coming from someone who has never seen an episode of "Lost"). His no-nonsense deliveries give him a memorable presence as a character actor, regardless of the role. So when the remake of "The Stepfather" pushed the original out onto DVD after a long "out of print" life, I chomped at the bit to see O'Quinn take on the role of a manic serial killer. The story has its fair share of plot holes and implausibilities, but what serial killer film doesn't. The main thing that matters is that the film is designed as a vehicle for O'Quinn, and thankfully he doesn't fail to satisfy.

O'Quinn devours the scenery as Henry Morrison, a man determined to live out teh American dream with the quintessential family. He's mild-mannered enough, but if the family dynamic begins to break down, he snaps, kills the lot and moves on to a new city and family, like a hermit crab changing shells. The credit sequence sets the tone and premise fabulously, as Morrison shaves, cuts his hair and transforms himself to a new appearence before jauntily strolling out the house past his dismembered family. It's light fare as far as psychological thrillers go (though O'Quinn is positively frightening when his armor begins to crack), and the kill count is surprisingly low, but it's fun all the same.

Watch the Trailer

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