Starring: Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson
Director: Bryan Forbes
Running Time: 115 mins
The Stepford Wives is an American film about a woman and her family who move to the seemingly perfect and peaceful suburban town of Stepford, however she soon discovers that there is a horrific nightmare behind the town’s perfect façade.
Well, this film is so stupid, laughable and boring that I had serious trouble even thinking about it. It is a bit of a shame because there is a bit of a deeper message beneath the idiotic horror about suburban culture, but I couldn’t help feeling bored and sick at this story.
The pacing of this film is all wrong. It’s meant to have an edgy thriller aspect to it, however it’s incredibly slow, and takes ages to get into the more mysterious atmosphere of the story, by which time you’re pretty bored of this woman acquainting herself with her ‘perfect’ neighbours.
And even so, the mystery part of it is all a bit low-key. In order to keep up tension, you don’t see anything particularly odd right up until the end, it expects to utilise the strange behaviours of the housewives of Stepford to make it tense and disturbing, however it’s just such a weak concept that I couldn’t get at all excited by this part of the film, which is the main bulk of the story.
While the majority of the film is, however, quite low-key for a mystery-sci-fi-thriller, the end is laughable and ridiculous. It just ends up falling into the trap of trying to be scary (and with 1970s B-movie special effects, that’s pretty tough) with no intelligence whatsoever, and that falls flat on its face to finish the film off.
That said, the very end of the story is ambiguous, and the final one-minute scene is probably the most interesting of the entire film, however I still wouldn’t recommend sitting through the first 114 minutes to get to it…
As I said, this film does have an underlying theme looking at why people in these suburban cultures are so seemingly perfect, however that’s pretty much overlooked when you get into all of the horror/sci-fi stuff, and coupled with the fact that this feels so much like a terrible B-movie, it’s tough to take it seriously, so that’s why it gets a 5.1.