Jerry is the ideal husband and a loving stepfather; that is until his perfect new family begins to fall apart... Then, he must 'take care of them' the way he took care of his last three families before moving on to another new life in a new town. THE STEPFATHER is often mistaken for a common late 80s Slasher, but its finely tuned suspense and minimal gore prove to share much more with the Psychological Thriller. It plays on realistic horrors taken from true crime resources, where the perfect husband next door is hiding a sinister and deadly double life. There are many sharply written moments in the script where the dialog makes reference to Jerry's double nature without tipping any of the characters off to it, while the other family members are handled evenly in order to balance the daughter's suspicion and distrust with the wife's blinding love and comfort. The lack of motivation and explanation into Jerry's background also drives the audience's morbid fascination with the character. The one distracting element of the film is the contrived detective story headed by one of Jerry's victim's brothers, whose presumptuous conclusions are far too scripted to be believable. The aforementioned strengths would mean little were it not for Terry O'Quinn's commanding performance and his ability to snap from the lovable family man to the inescapable madman in a matter of seconds. O'Quinn truly makes the film in what is still one of his strongest performances to date.
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