Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Stepfather Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 37.7 GB
Film Size: 27.6 GB
Film Rating: Unrated
Region: ABC
The Video
The Stepfather comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The movie looks very good in high-definition and very film-like. There is a thin layer of grain throughout the movie, but there is also a great sense of depth and detail present at all times as well.

The movie is sharp and an easy improvement from its DVD counterpart. The film has a semi-blue tone to it, certainly intended to create a darker atmosphere for the film. Colors are presented accurately to intention and are always rich as can be.

I also found black levels to be very inky throughout, something I definitely love to see. Certain scenes are a bit soft from time to time, but that’s really my only complaint regarding this transfer. Sony has provided a top notch encode for the film. 9/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and is actually a bit underwhelming at times. The track is still very good, but there are certainly some missed opportunities. Let’s start with dialogue, which like most any new release is clear and crisp as can be.

The film’s music is front heavy as well, coming mainly through the front left and right speakers. The film’s effects do wake up the surround speakers in positive ways from time to time, particularly towards the end as expected.

Overall, I am certainly pleased by this mix. It is lively when it has to be, but there were times where surround use could have been used to help create a bit more atmosphere. On the other hand there were some great moments which left me very pleased. 8/10.

The Extras

Connect to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie. You must have a BD-Live connected Blu-ray player to use MovieIQ.

Audio Commentary
With Director Nelson McCormick, Penn Badgley and Dylan Walsh.

Open House: Making the Film (20:12)
This is a behind-the-scenes look at production. We get a lot of filming footage and great interviews.

Visualizing the Stunts (11:35) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes and see how the stunts in the film were done.

Gag Reel (4:52) (SD)
This is a semi-amusing gag reel, featuring the entire cast.

Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots (HD)
Theatrical Trailer
New Face
Nice Guy
Too Late
Too Friendly

Previews (HD)

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest trailers for upcoming Sony Pictures theatrical and Blu-ray releases.

PS3 Theme
PS3 users can access an exclusive The Stepfather theme via their Playstation 3 system.

I am a sucker for behind-the-scenes material, and it is even better in high-definition. I loved both the making of featurette and stunts featurette. The theatrical trailer is a nice addition to see certain moments that did not make it into the film, disappointingly. 6/10.

The Movie
Horror films are being remade each year, there are always some that pleasantly surprise and others that are far more disastrous than expected. I think The Stepfather falls somewhere in between; I did not find everything about it bad, although there were some very stupid moments.

Having recently seen The House of the Devil on Blu-ray, I realized how much technology has affected horror films in such a negative way. It would not be realistic now for a teenager to not have a cell phone, with more teens likely to have one than not. The access to internet also can affect a story from being as believable or effective, which is why The Stepfather is not as creepy as it could have been.

Like most families, the film’s family has complete access to cellular phones with texting and high-speed internet service. The attempt to give reason for lack of technology, such as a phone battery sliding under an appliance to prevent calling for help, but often times make the film much stupider than it had to be.

Oh, while we are on stupid, let’s talk about one of the deaths in particular. I won’t spoil much for those who have yet to see the film, but the pool death was completely stupid. If someone is trying to shove your head into the pool, wouldn’t it be better to push your entire body into the pool and try to swim away rather than try to raise your head and still be right next to the guy?

The Stepfather is about a guy who goes around the United States attempting to hook up with single mothers and eventually become the stepfather to their children. He usually doesn’t stay around long before he kills them all and moves on.

While the film is indeed a remake, I still think the idea of making something so common a scary thing is great. The execution may not have been the best, but I do dig the idea. Perhaps maybe my idea of St. Patrick’s Day will eventually become a film too, find a four leaf clover and your life is over. Seriously though, the Stepfather is a good idea.

I thought the movie was decently effective as a whole, but the ending really turned me off to the movie as a whole. The movie has a significant amount of buildup and they show the stepfather in action, but the final confrontation is extremely underwhelming. Even the scene from Obsessed with Beyoncé Knowles and Ali Larter was more intense than this, and of course their fight was fun and kind of sexy.

I can’t really go much more into what I disliked about the film without totally spoiling it unfortunately. The film is very underwhelming come the end, mix that with a few very stupid scenes and you have yourself a very mediocre horror film. I did not hate The Stepfather, but this film certainly could have been much better if thought out better. 6/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Stepfather on Blu-ray is very strong, featuring good video and audio presentations. Extras are also surprisingly enjoyable. The film itself though, knocks this Blu-ray release down quite a bit. If it interest you though, I definitely say ‘Rent It.

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