“The Stepfather” a first rate suspense flick

MADISON FINCH – Hoof Prints Staff

“The Stepfather” is a combination of suspense and horror. It affects many different emotions. During the movie, I felt sympathetic, furious and horrified all at the same time.

Starring in this classic is Dylan Walsh. The story begins with Grady Edwards (Walsh) leaving his house after he kills his wife and three children. He always sets out to find a single woman with three kids. He marries her, then kills them all. He always changes his name, appearance and past before he meets his next victims. He also never uses credit cards or gives away his personal information. This keeps him safe from the law.

After meeting his new potential family and becoming engaged, his fiance’s oldest son, Michael (“Gossip Girl’s” Penn Badgley), begins suspecting that he isn’t who he says he is. He and his girlfriend, Kelly (Amber Heard), begin researching and plotting to keep his family safe. Kelly plays a huge part in the family’s life. Michael has been at military school for the past year because of misbehavior. While he was gone, she stayed close to his family and she is the only person who helps him unravel the mysterious past of his soon-to-be stepfather.

Because Grady has told so many lies and has made up so many different identities, he often confuses stories. He also has very violent behavior which comes out once when his fiance’s youngest son doesn’t listen to his mother.  After he ignores her order to turn the sound down on his video game, Grady uses physical discipline to get his attention. His mother does not approve of this type of punishment, so it causes an argument between the happy couple.

A while after Grady uses his own form of discipline, the two youngest kids (one boy and one girl) go to their father’s house to spend the night. The boy tells his father about what his new “stepfather” did to him. When they are taken back to their house the next day, a fight breaks out between Grady and their biological father. Of course, this angers Grady into doing something extreme.  Let’s just say that Grady won the fight in the end.

When neighbors and friends of the family realize who he really is, they try to tell the mother. Of course, she laughs and tells Grady. He then kills every person who suspects he is a killer or who could possibly ruin his happiness. At one point, a neighbor sees a sketch of Grady on “America’s Most Wanted.” He gets his revenge by sneaking to her house and killing her in a way that looked accidental.

To find out how the movie ends, you will have to watch it yourself. I don’t want to give away the ending. Most of the movie was fairly predictable, but I was not prepared for the ending.

“The Stepfather” was one of my favorite horror movies. Unlike most, it wasn’t filled with gory, graphic scenes. It also didn’t use as much profane language as most. This movie was more of a suspense thriller than a horror flick. I prefer movies such as this one where it keeps my skin crawling, but at the same time, it doesn’t cause me to cover my eyes through the whole film.

Because of the exciting storyline and believable acting, I give “The Stepfather” a “Yay”