As the film opens, we see Terry O'Quinn, who has just sliced and diced his
family with the kitchen knives, calmly showering, changing his appearance, and
leaving on foot. The story jumps forward a year, when he is remarried to a widow
in another town. His new step-daughter (Jill Schoelen) is not impressed with
him, which makes his dream of having the perfect family seem remote. Add to the
mix the fact that the brother of his last victim is on his tail. It is clear
almost from the beginning that Schoelen will send him over the edge, and there
is no telling who will survive.
Jill Schoelen is outstanding in her role, and The Stepfather is a nifty
thriller in general, deriving all of the suspense from the conflict, and
building steadily until the end.
By Scoop (Johnny Web)
The Stepfather spawned a sequel in 1989, and is currently
being remade. Lord knows why.
You may have forgotten since it was so long ago, but in 1989, shortly after
this film was lensed, Jill Schoelen was engaged for a few months to a guy you
may have heard of - Hollywood super-hunk Brad Pitt! They worked together in a
low-budget horror film called Cutting Class. (Hey, Pitt wasn't always a big
Schoelen later hooked up with a composer, married him, bore two children, and
disappeared from acting for about a decade (1996-2004) to raise their kids. She
re-emerged briefly with a lead in a
thriller, then disappeared again.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:
Unexpectedly good thriller.