Joseph Ruben

Joseph Ruben

Ruben made his feature directorial debut at the ripe age of 24 with the bleak psychodrama "The Sister-in-Law" (1975). His subsequent work has included two low-budget looks at high school life ("The Pom Pom Girls" 1976, "Our Winning Season" 1978), a road movie ("Joyride" 1977), a nifty sci-fi thriller, "Dreamscape" (1984), starring Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, and Christopher Plummer and an engaging legal drama, "True Believer" (1989), starring James Woods and Robert Downey, Jr. Ruben seems at his best, however, when exploring the dark underbelly of that most sacred of American institutions, the family: cult favorite "The Stepfather" (1987) has "family man" Terry O'Quinn moving from town to town, settling in with a fatherless family, and then slaying them; "Sleeping with the Enemy" (1991), Ruben's first big commercial hit, sees Julia Roberts faking her own death in order to escape her obsessively possessive husband. He turned his attention to the children in "The Good Son" (1993) wherein the good Elijah Wood tries to warn his family about the pure murderous evil of his cousin Macaulay Culkin.