Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 4th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1989
Director: Jeff Burr
Writer: John Auerbach
Cast: Terry O’Quinn, Meg Foster, Caroline Williams, Jonathan Brandis, Henry Brown, Mitchell Laurance
DVD released: September 29th, 2009
Approximate running time: 87 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Sequels are almost always doomed from the outset since the chance of them being as good or better then the film that preceded it is a feat rarely achieved in the history of cinema. Stepfather 2 is a continuation of sorts of the quest of a character named Gerald ‘Jerry’ Blake, who died is the first Stepfather film. Stepfather 2 picks up with Gerald ‘Jerry’ Blake (he miraculously survived his nearly fatal knife attack from the previous film), who is now living in an asylum. It doesn’t take too long before the plot gets going as you just can’t keep a determined man down as Gerald escapes from the asylum and resumes his search for the ideal family.
While there are some faint echoes of horror elements scattered throughout the film. This film is more of a psychological thriller than a horror film. There are a handful of murders that for the most part are quick and not overtly brutal. Even though the film establishes very early on where everything it going the languid pacing never gives the film any real momentum. Just about the only asset this film has is the performance from Terry O’Quinn who reprises his role as Gerald ‘Jerry’ Blake. In the scenes where his character is just let loose are some of the film’s most enjoyable moments. Overall Stepfather 2 is an adequate thriller that lacks the killer instinct that is so prevalent in the first Stepfather film.
Synapse Films presents Stepfather 2 in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This is another solid transfer from Synapse Films, in which colors and flesh tones look accurate and details look crisp throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The audio sounds clear, balanced and it free of any background noise.
Extras for this release include a teaser (38 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a trailer for the film (2 minutes 5 seconds – 1.33:1 full frame), a stills gallery with thirty images which also include cover art for other home video releases of this film and eight alternate scenes (totally running time, 30 minutes 58 seconds), they can be played separately or all at once. These alternate scenes also come with an optional director’s audio commentary. All of these alternate scenes are presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and look to be taken from a VHS source. Other extras include a featurette about the film titled “The Stepfather Chronicles: Daddy’s New Home” (30 minutes 16 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), which includes comments from director Jeff Burr, producer Darrin Scott, screenwriter John Auerbach, actress Caroline Williams, cinematographer Jacek Laskus and editor Pasquale Buba. This is a well rounded collection of interviews that are only lacking because of the lack of participation of its two stars Terry O’Quinn and Meg Foster. The main extra included with this release is an audio commentary with director Jeff Burr and producer Darrin Scott. Outside of a few moments where both participants go silent this is an informative track. In 2003 Miramax released Stepfather 2 on DVD and the bulk of the extra content including the audio commentary are carried over from this release. Overall Stepfather 2 returns to DVD via a fully loaded DVD release from Synapse Films.