Frank and Susan Morrison (Travolta and Polo, respectively) have recently divorced, and Susan has started a new life marrying the richer and younger Rick Barnes (Vaughn). While Frank and Susan seem to have graciously accepted this new course of their lives, their 12-year-old son Danny (O'Leary) is more problematic: he often gets in trouble and lie—all of this to catch their attention, according to the school psychologist. Moreover, he doesn't like his mother's new husband and one day, completely by chance, he witnesses him doing something...
This film provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: Your son living under the same roof of a killer.
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Rick is on the surface a rich and charming man, marrying a sweet woman and treating lovely his annoying stepson; on the deep side, instead...
- Beneath the Mask: While Rick tries to be kind to Danny and showing to Susan how much he cares for him, then he confesses to his "old friend" that he can hardly stand his stepson, but he must tolerate him for the love of Susan. Plus, of course, he is not the perfect man everyone thinks he is, but he is a former racketeer and present murderer
- Convenient Miscarriage: for Susan.
- Crying Wolf: Danny being a compulsive liar (even if he never lied to his own real father) bites back him when he sees something really important and no one believes him (no one, but his own real father).
- Domestic Abuse: Initially an Averted Trope, despite the title: Rick is as good as a stepfather who doesn't like his stepson can be. Things get really worse after Danny discovers what Rick has done.
- Instant Death Stab: Rick kills Ray instantly by stabbing him in the back while they are sitting in the car.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Susan, so much. Her son is a liar, she has all the rights to think that Danny didn't see anything. But, knowing how much Danny loves his father Frank, that he cannot stand Rick and how much he fought to go to live with his father, when, during the judicial hearing, he suddenly changes his mind without any apparent reason, she really should guess there is something fishy going on.
- Love Redeems: During the climax, firstly an Invoked Trope by Rick, who gives a sweet goodbye speech and kiss to Susan, then a Subverted Trope when Susan hits him and he immediately calls her: "BITCH!", unleashing himself both against her and her son.
- Papa Wolf: Frank towards Danny. He even claims to Rick that if he ever hurt his son it will be the last thing he does.
- Police Are Useless: Completely useless.
- Would Hurt a Child: Rick has no qualms about it.