Director Joseph Ruben doesn't bring too much excitement in terms of interesting camera work or establishing the mood through atmosphere. This is pretty plain directing, the kind we would expect from a 1980's After School Special. [Ouch!] Thankfully, the actors give us something worth watching. Without them The Stepfather would be in serious trouble.
Overall, this film is pretty low-key except for the moments when O'Quinn's character goes bat shit crazy for a few minutes at a time. These are definitely the most interesting moments of the film and they leave the viewer wanting more of them.
A remake of The Stepfather was done in 2009 which I thought was pretty good. It ups the tension and suspense considerably and replaces the daughter with a troubled son. I thought it actually worked better in terms of storytelling. The director of the sequel was able to up the domestic violence scenes in a way that the audience would not have tolerated if the stepkid was female.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.