A surprisingly well-crafted and frightening tale unhampered by its B-movie mise-en-scène, The Stepfather manages to upend some established horror-movie conventions as it entertains. Joseph Ruben's loopy direction fits the eerie, slimy feel of the picture perfectly. As the psychopathic titular character, Terry O'Quinn seethes with a duplicitous Norman Bates quality. O'Quinn plays the "sickopath" role to perfection, showing some flair for Jack Nicholson-style dark comedy as well. In its awkward way, the film disturbingly uncovers what lies beneath the middle-class sensibility. Based on real events, The Stepfather has a very tangible, gruesome feel and proves to be quite effective in the horror department. Afterschool-special production values aside, this warped film truly works in a way that most horror films do not.