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The story itself is simple but grabs you immediately. A suburban dad insists on an unattainable perfection in his family. When he gets disappointed, things get bloody as he ends what isn't working and moves on to a new family.
The heart of this underrated gem is the duo of Terry O'Quinn as the stepfather and Jill Schoelen as the troubled stepdaughter. Their performances are far better than you expect to find in genre fare, and manage to bring about an interesting dynamic.
Sure O'Quinn is nuts and evil, but he's also strangely sympathetic. Schoelen on the other hand, while certainly not deserving of the treatment handed her, is a legitimate pain in the ass kid. I didn't want to kill her, but I did want to smack some sense into her.
Also surprising is the strength of the direction. From the opening sequence which is a masterpiece, we're given notice to expect more than the usual. Subtle, creative angles, mix with an unsettling refusal to steady the camera to create a movie that doesn't need to jump out at you. It just sets you on edge and lets you get more and more tense as you wait for the wheels to come off the wagon.
Audio - Not listed
The Stepfather Chronicles - Your typical fluff piece tossed in to make a DVD that doesn't really have any notable special features appear as though it does.
US Theatrical Trailer