The Stepfather (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Stepfather1987

The Stepfather (1987)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A man who at first seems to be the ideal husband proves to be a psychotic serial killer searching for the "perfect" family -- and willing to kill whenever he is disappointed. This skillful thriller hinges on the killer's newest family and their attempts to avoid becoming his newest victims.

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Terry O'Quinn
as Jerry Blake
Jill Schoelen
as Stephanie
Stephen Shellen
as Jim Ogilvie
Charles Lanyer
as Dr. Bondurant
Jeff Schultz
as Paul Baker
Lindsay Bourne
as Art Teacher
Anna Hagan
as Mrs. Leitner
Gillian Barber
as Anne Barnes
Blu Mankuma
as Lt. Jack Wall
Jackson Davies
as Mr. Chesterton
Sandra Head
as Receptionist
Don S. Sargent
as Mr. Anderson
Richard Sargent
as Mr. Anderson
Rochelle Greenwood
as Mr. Anderson
Don Williams
as Mr. Stark
Don S. Williams
as Mr. Stark
Andrew Snider
as Mr. Grace
Marie Stillin
as Mrs. Fairfax
Paul Batten
as Mr. Fairfax
Sheila Paterson
as Dr. Barbara Faraden
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Critic Reviews for The Stepfather

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (9)

More than 30 years after its release, The Stepfather doesn't hold up quite as well as it did during the late 1980s... but it still generates tension and suspense and O'Quinn's performance has lost none of its power.

February 4, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Ruben's surprisingly resonant and durable tale ... cannily reflects, in a larger way, the era of its creation

January 15, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

An engrossing suspense thriller that refreshingly doesn't cheat the audience in terms of valid clues and plot twists.

September 24, 2007 | Full Review…

One is left longing for Hitchcock's dark, daring wit and disturbingly amoral insights.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Too often disappointingly thin.

August 30, 2004 | Rating: 2/5

The styling is never less than assured, and [director] Ruben knows how to put bland, unruffled surfaces to sinister Hitchcockian uses.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Stepfather

Before he was marooned on a desolate island, Terry O'Quinn was a fiendishly vile serial killer who targeted widows and their suspicious children. The brilliance of 'The Stepfather' is the subversive nature of the screenplay insofar as the antagonists' motives are ultraconservative (his 'Father Knows Best' desire is a nuclear family with strong moral fiber who don't spout profanity and profess unflappable respect for their elders) and his victims could be construed as the immoral ones. Stephanie is a rebellious teenager who is undergoing therapy whereas Jerry is the distilled image of normalcy- a halcyon role model with a thriving real-estate career who socially invites his friends to neighborly cookouts due to his generosity. The race-against-the-clock element of Blakes' ex-brother-in-law narrowing down his location is a goosebump-inducing nail-biter. Soliloquizing to himself in the basement and violently smashing his wooden crafts like a frothing madman, the stupendous character actor O'Quinn can quickly transpose his fury for imperfections into a smiling, supportive bread-winner within seconds. When Blake switches the envelope photographs of himself for another suspect, his deviousness is incontrovertible. On the downside, the soundtrack in the slasher finale can be a tad strident but it is a minuscule sacrifice for an otherwise astute, irreverent rollercoaster that reverses the sanctity-of-family convention.

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer


While it plays like a normal lower budget 80's thriller / horror flick the awesome Terry O'Quinn elevates the movie for me. He the perfect blend of loving husband and father mixed with psychopath. His ability to turn it off and on puts him above the rest of the cast. The movie is also darker than I remember it being which also sets it apart from other films like it of the decade.

Jason Spencer
Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer


This is a very realistic and scary horror movie, more of a horror drama, I'd say. Plus, I heard it was based on a true story, which makes sense because it's so realistic. It's a family's worst nightmare, if you love horror movies, you should see this.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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