Lifetime Film Review: My Evil Stepdad (dir by Stacia Crawford)


AGCK!

As you can tell from looking at the picture above, the stepdad in My Evil Stepdad is even more evil and pervy and shady than the usual Lifetime evil stepdad.  Lifetime, of course, has a long and proud tradition of airing films about dangerous stepparents.  They all usually seem to follow the same basic plot.  A widow (and it’s almost always a widow as opposed to someone who has just gone through a divorce) meets a seemingly charming man who quickly marries her.  Her daughter is suspicious of her new stepfather.  Around the halfway mark, the stepfather commits a murder, just in case we were still entertaining any doubts about whether or not he’s a really bad guy.  Eventually, the daughter does a Google search and discovers that her new stepfather has either changed his name or is lying about some other important detail from his past.  Eventually, the stepfather is either killed or taken off to prison, the widow realizes that there’s nothing wrong with being single, and the daughter is proven correct.  The most important thing, of course, is that everything returns to normal at the end of the film.

In My Evil Stepdad, the widow is Tracy (played by Jennifer Lafluer).  Tracy has still not fully gotten over the death of her husband and, while she’s open to dating again, she has a strong aversion to Tinder and almost anything else that came into existence after 2011.  Her daughter is Ashley (Addy Stafford), who has inherited her father’s love of photography and who is looking forward to attending college in the fall.  And then, finally, the evil stepdad of the title is Jared (Chris Johnson), who seems to be nice and trustworthy and whose claim that he’s started a wind chime business is kind of charming as long as you don’t think about it too much.

When Jared comes across an online dating profile that Ashley set up for Tracy, he quickly manages to make his way into Tracy’s life.  Of course, he gets a little bit of help from Ashley who, unfortunately, doesn’t realize that he’s totally evil until after he’s already married Tracy.  It’s after the wedding that Jared starts to push Ashley out of her mother’s life.  Not only does he pressure her to take out a student loan to help pay for college but he also takes over her photography studio, changing the locks and turning it into his mancave.  Even worse, he tells Ashley that if she needs any money, she’ll have to ask him for it.  He even says that he will be her “sugar daddy.”  Like seriously, ewwww!

While all of this is going on, Tracy continues to defend Jared even as everyone else in her life tells her that he’s kind of a jerk.  Of course, every since the wedding, Tracy has been feeling ill.  Hmmmm …. could Jared possible have something to do with that?

In many ways, My Evil Stepdad is a standard evil stepparent film but it manages to go through all of the expected paces with a certain panache.  Director Stacia Crawford keeps the action moving at a nice pace and Abby Stafford and Jennifer Lafluer are believable as daughter-and-mother.  Chris Johnson is wonderfully sleazy in the role of Jared and the film also features a good comedic turn from Belmont Cameli in the role of Ashley’s best friend.  If you like Lifetime films, you’ll enjoy My Evil Stepdad.