Filmmaker Joseph Ruben has gained a reputation for his offbeat, psychological, and dark examinations of modern American family life. His 1987 film The Stepfather, which looks at an outwardly normal dad whose bland face masks the ruthless heart of a serial killer, has become a cult favorite and is a good example of his work. Before becoming a filmmaker, Ruben studied theater and film at the University of Michigan and earned a master's degree at Brandeis University. He made his film debut in 1974 with The Sister-in-Law. Ruben had his first mainstream success with the Julia Roberts vehicle Sleeping With the Enemy.