The film takes place in the post-war period of the 20th century. The events begin with the story of a veteran of the Second World War, Willard Russell, who is haunted by nightmares associated with the war. The following is a story about how he met his love, and their son Arvin was born in their family. Mom gets cancer, and negative events begin to haunt them. The father strikes at faith in God, at first it seems harmless, but becomes more and more fanatical. Willard resorts to bloody sacrifices, but even this does not save his wife from a fatal disease. Unable to bear this pain, Willard decides to commit suicide, leaving little Arvin an orphan.
In parallel with this story, we see the girl Helen, who is imbued with love for the preacher Roy, with whom they have a daughter, Lenora. The preacher, believing in God and hearing voices, in his opinion, kills his wife Helen. But he does this not out of evil intentions, but believing that the Almighty gave instructions to resurrect Helen. But none of this works for him. And Roy escapes, leaving Lenore an orphan. Thus, the fates of these two babies intersect, but not under the best of circumstances.
A few years later, we watch a couple pick up hitchhikers out of good intentions. But in reality, Carl and Sandy only choose young guys and do not take them to their destination. They are serial killers with their own beliefs and desires. Carl is a photographer who loves to shoot erotic scenes involving his wife and various boyfriends, and then they kill them mercilessly. Carl and Sandy have been involved in a series of murders over the years, collecting pictures of all the victims and periodically reviewing them. At some point, Sandy begins to feel sorry for the young guys, but Carl is unstoppable.
At the same time, Sandy has a brother – Sheriff Lee Bodeker, who does not suspect anything, but is always ready to protect her, because she is his sister. In the police sphere, not everything is so smooth, of course, he is corrupt and dishonest.
At some point, the fates of all the characters are intertwined. It all starts with preacher Roy, who is randomly selected by Sandy and Carl. Roy did not know what was happening, and wanted to return to his daughter Lenora, because he still did not want to leave the baby an orphan after the murder of her mother. But he was not destined to come home to his daughter. He got into the car with the serial killers, whom they shot dead and took photographs of the already dead Roy.
Preacher Preston, who replaced Roy, was a charming man who conquered the population of a small town and promised to lift them out of poverty. But behind good intentions, we observe its true essence. He seduces young girls and presents it as the desire of the Lord God. The main character Lenora falls for his charm, she believes in her preacher, trusts him. After several such meetings, Lenora learns that she is pregnant and informs the preacher Preston about this. He calls it her fiction and denies their connection, suggesting that she get rid of the child. Lenora thinks that it would be better for her family not to find out about this, and decides to commit suicide. But at the moment when she tightens the noose around her neck, Lenora analyzes the whole situation and understands that the family will not refuse her and that she needs to live on. But it’s getting too late.
The fates of the heroes are intertwined into a single knot, each of them does not see the measure in his faith, their faith does not serve as a good intention, but leads to terrible consequences.
How does the movie end
After Lenora’s death, Arvin decides to take revenge because he considered her his sister. He comes to the church to the preacher, telling a story about himself. The preacher realizes that he was being followed, but it comes too late, Arvin pulls out a gun and fires several shots.
Arvin decides to flee the state to avoid being found. But he ends up in a car with serial killers. Carl and Sandy proceed according to their usual plan, take the guy to the back of the forest and offer to enjoy the sunset. But Arvin notices the gun hidden in Carl’s trousers and fires first. He then kills Sandy in self-defense, as she also pointed a gun at him.
Arvin runs away home, returns to where he once lived with his father. But here, too, he is not alone. He is pursued by Lee, Sandy’s brother, who is aware that it was Arvin who killed his sister and preacher Preston. But Lee finds himself in an unfortunate position, in a shootout, Arvin hits him first. And he runs on, hoping that nothing else will happen to him.
Explanation of the meaning of the film
The film shows us that every person can make a mistake, and sometimes what we consider good and holy, what we idealize, it can contain a piece of the devil. Not always what is done for the good is a good deed, just as a bad deed is not always badly motivated.
The film is dull, dark and violent. Shows that everything needs a measure, especially in faith.