If Screen Gems opts goes PG-13 with its remake of Joseph Ruben’s The Stepfather (as they’re currently doing with the new Prom Night), well… who gives a shit?
The original film was a nasty little piece of work that benefitted from taut direction, a Donald Westlake screenplay and Terry O’Quinn turning in one of the 1980s most disturbing portrayals of (barely) suppressed suburban psychosis. It took some light swings at satire, and delivered some truly unnerving viciousness in the third-act, but it’s not holy writ; a remake is fair game, and, given that the original was successful enough on home video to spawn a (very awful) sequel, completely expected.
To be honest, I think Dylan Walsh is smart casting as the titular lunatic who’s murderously committed to the idea of family values. Sela Ward will co-star as the unwitting new wife, while Penn Badgley will play the son who notices there’s something a tad off about Daddy Number Two (a bit of a gender switch there, as it was a daughter, played by Jill Schoelen, in the Ruben film). Rounding out the cast will be Adrianne Palicki, the blond-tressed bad girl of NBC’s Friday Night Lights.
Television veteran Nelson McCormick will handle the directorial chores, thus suggesting that Screen Gems was pleased with his work on Prom Night (for which I have a long-embargoed set visit report). The screenplay is by J.S. Cardone, who’s probably best known for writing-and-directing The Forsaken and/or scripting The Covenant for Sir Renny Harlin.