The Stepfather
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Terry O'Quinn plays The Stepfather in this intelligent, unsettling chiller. We'd tell you O'Quinn's character name, but he has so many. You see, O'Quinn has been a stepfather many times over, romancing and marrying widowed women in several different states. After each wedding, everything is blissful -- at least, until O'Quinn's new wife and kids fail to measure up to his notions of perfection. Then he kills them en masse, and moves on to his next victims. Shelley Hack and Jill Schoelen co-star as O'Quinn's latest wife and stepdaughter, who prove to be yet… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An engrossing suspense thriller that refreshingly doesn't cheat the audience in terms of valid clues and plot twists."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"While I was watching the film, I was distracted by elements of the Idiot Plot Syndrome -- moments when only an idiot would have made such obvious mistakes."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"That's really all the movie needs to work: a sublime villain, with tight, driven direction, perfectly sturdy, effective writing, and a heroine who we can believe in."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"...ultimately manages to overcome its almost aggressively uneven atmosphere to establish itself as a solid little '80s thriller."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"Just when it looked like slasher movies were wholly irredeemable, director Joseph Ruben came along to prove there is some intelligent life in this otherwise bereft subgenre."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"One is left longing for Hitchcock's dark, daring wit and disturbingly amoral insights."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"The styling is never less than assured, and [director] Ruben knows how to put bland, unruffled surfaces to sinister Hitchcockian uses."
‑ Pat Graham, Chicago Reader
"The key to this movie is O'Quinn as the title character. He's a scary bastard, and as an actor he commits to the role."
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"The Stepfather is the full package: fast-paced, well-acted, suspenseful and brimming with bursts of nasty violence."
‑ Steve "Uncle Creepy" Barton, Dread Central
"The Stepfather makes use of a classic fairy tale device--the false parent--but it turns out to have a powerful effect upon one's involvement with the characters."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"Too often disappointingly thin."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"May be the best movie about the breakup of a family since Shoot the Moon."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"The Stepfather works for American Eagle Realty, and the company logo pegs him as both a patriot and a predator. 'It's like living with Ward Cleaver,' his stepdaughter complains, not knowing that the 'cleaver' reference could be another pun..."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"Ruben's surprisingly resonant and durable tale ... cannily reflects, in a larger way, the era of its creation"
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"A high water mark of 1980s horror/suspense."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
More reviews for The Stepfather on Rotten Tomatoes