Most critics would rather curl up with some popcorn and watch the original 1987 version of The Stepfather than see the remake again. Most would also like to see all prints of the new release, which casts Dylan Walsh as the murderous title character, burned. Some reactions:
- One high point: "Amber Heard spends nearly all of her screen time in an assortment of ever-shrinking bikinis," opines Peter Sobczynski of eFilmCritic. But anyone with brains or taste will buy the original and "give this new Stepfather the red-headed stepchild treatment."
- Chris Hewitt is somewhat kinder in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Sure, "some meddler thought teenagers wouldn't be interested in Stepfather unless there were plenty of scenes of young people showering and swimming." But "Walsh kills most of those unnecessary complications in time for The Stepfather to tighten its focus."
- Geoff Berkshire isn't as appalled as Sobczynski, but when stepson Penn Badgley's "defining character trait is an aversion to shirts," the "murders are perfunctory," and the "suspense is nonexistent," there's little to love. The "ultimate face off has all the dramatic force of a grade school playground skirmish," he writes for Metromix.