1989 / Director. Jeff Burr.
Review by Justine Ryan.
After a short recap of the first film, THE STEPFATHER 2 begins with Jerry Blake (Terry O’Quinn) institutionalised at Puget Sound psychiatric hospital. He soon escapes and makes his way to a new family oriented neighbourhood after seeing a TV commercial for Palm Meadow Estates, which promises the American dream (family values, easy living and home sweet home). Jerry chooses his new identity after browsing the obituaries. Now Dr. Gene Clifford he resides in Palm Meadow Estates as the towns therapist and sets his sights on divorcee, Carol Grayland (Meg Foster –THEY LIVE, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, RELENTLESS, THE LORDS OF SALEM) and her teen son, Todd (Jonathan Brandis – IT, LADYBUGS, THE NEVERENDING STORY 2, SEAQUEST -R.I.P- 1976- 2003).
Everything is going well for Gene and Carol until Carol’s best friend, Matty (Caroline Williams – THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE II, HATCHET III) becomes suspicious of Gene because he divulges so little about his past and seems to have no family alive that she begins to snoop through his mail and discovers that he isn’t who he claims to be, with the addition of Carol’s ex-husband, Phil (Mitchell Laurance – THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE) trying to worm his way back into her life. Part of what makes THE STEPFATHER films so fun to watch is that nothings seems to stay perfect in Jerry’s/Gene’s world before he is “disappointed” once again and feels the need to eliminate the obstacles in his path that are stopping him from obtaining the American dream of the perfect family. Again, like in the first film, O’Quinn plays this character brilliantly and is captivating that a part of me can’t help but feel for him, but this is all part of how good of an actor O’Quinn is.
THE STEPFATHER 2 is a heck of a lot of fun. I hired this one a lot on home video in the early 90's and I believe it really is a worthy successor to the original film. It has a great score by Australian composer, Jim Manzie who also composed Jeff Burr's earlier films (FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM AKA THE OFFSPRING, LEATHERFACE, EDDIE PRESLEY, PUMPKINHEAD 2:BLOOD WINGS, NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW). If you like the first film, then definitely check this one out!