The Stepfather

Watch The Stepfather

"He wanted a perfect family in a perfect town. But they couldn't measure up... Neither could the others..."
  • R
  • 1987
  • 1 hr 29 min
  • 6.7  (18,032)
  • 72

The Stepfather is a 1987 thriller movie directed by Joseph Ruben, starring Terry O'Quinn, Jill Schoelen, and Shelley Hack. The film opens with a montage of a man shaving his beard, cutting his hair, and destroying his ID cards. This suggests that he's running from something or someone. The man, identified as Jerry Blake (played by Terry O'Quinn), then marries a widowed mother (played by Shelley Hack) and her daughter Stephanie (played by Jill Schoelen). Jerry tries his level best to be the perfect husband and father, but Stephanie suspects that he's hiding something.

The movie then explores Jerry's past and reveals that he's a serial killer. He had a pattern of marrying widowed mothers, settling down with them, and then killing them when they no longer met his expectations of a perfect family. When the authorities get close to finding him, he disappears and starts a new life under a new identity. The movie also introduces Jim Ogilvie, a private investigator (played by Stephen Shellen) who's been tracking Jerry for years.

As the story progresses, Stephanie starts to notice that Jerry's behavior is becoming increasingly erratic. He becomes violent towards her, and she finds a hidden room in their house where Jerry has been obsessively creating a fake identity. Stephanie shares her concerns with her boyfriend, Paul Baker (played by Stephen Shellen), who decides to help her investigate Jerry's past. Paul discovers Jerry's true identity and informs the authorities, which leads to a dramatic conclusion.

The Stepfather is a suspenseful movie that combines elements of horror and drama. It's based on the real-life story of John List, a man who murdered his entire family and disappeared under a new identity for 18 years. Director Joseph Ruben uses tension and atmosphere to create a sense of dread throughout the film. He also expertly builds up the character of Jerry Blake to be very likable and charming at first before revealing his dark side.

Terry O'Quinn delivers a performance of a lifetime as Jerry Blake, earning critical acclaim for his portrayal of the character. He manages to make the audience empathize with Jerry and his desire for a perfect family while also making them fearful of his actions. Jill Schoelen also shines in her role as Stephanie. She portrays a teenager caught between wanting to believe that Jerry is the perfect family man and being suspicious of his behavior. Shelley Hack's portrayal of Jerry's wife is also noteworthy, as she manages to capture the vulnerability and naivety of a woman looking for love after her husband's death.

One of the strongest aspects of The Stepfather is its cinematography. Director Joseph Ruben uses visual cues to build tension and foreshadow events. For instance, the movie opens with Jerry shaving his beard, which is symbolic of him shedding his old identity. Later in the movie, Stephanie finds a clump of hair in a drawer in his hidden room, indicating that he's been grooming himself recently. The lighting in the film also creates an eerie and unsettling mood, with dark shadows and odd angles used to great effect.

The Stepfather was a commercial success upon its release, earning over $2 million at the box office. It was also praised by critics for its tense atmosphere and Terry O'Quinn's performance. It has since become a cult classic and spawned two sequels and a remake. The movie's impact can be seen in other horror movies that deal with identity and family dynamics, such as Cape Fear and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.

In conclusion, The Stepfather is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys a good thriller movie. It's a suspenseful and engaging film that builds tension masterfully. The performances by the cast are all excellent, with Terry O'Quinn's portrayal of Jerry Blake being particularly noteworthy. The movie's cinematography and use of visual cues also spotlights the talent of the director, Joseph Ruben. If you haven't watched The Stepfather yet, you're missing out on an important piece of horror cinema history.

The Stepfather is a 1987 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 29 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7 and a MetaScore of 72.

The Stepfather
Where to Watch The Stepfather
The Stepfather is available to watch free on Peacock, Plex, The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV, Vudu Free and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, FuboTV, Philo, Peacock Premium, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Stepfather for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 29 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (18,032)
  • Metascore