George Tatum has been incarcerated in a psychiatric institution in New York City for many years after sexually mutilating and murdering a family in Brooklyn. During his incarceration, George undergoes an experimental procedure that "reprograms" his brain, reforming him into an upstanding citizen. However, he remains plagued by hazy nightmares of a violent incident from his childhood. Upon his release, George visits a peep show in Times Square, which triggers flashbacks to his mother's murder.
The following day, George obtains a car and leaves New York, heading south to the Florida home of his ex-wife, Susan Temper, their daughters Kim and Tammy, and their mischievous young son, C.J., who frequently plays twisted pranks that disturb both her and babysitter Kathy. His car breaks down en route in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, leaving him stranded overnight. There, he follows a woman home from a local bar, and brutally slashes her to death. Back in New York, George's psychiatrists discover he has fled the city, and begin tracking his movements.
Meanwhile in Florida, Susan is carrying on a relationship with her boyfriend, Bob Rosen, and struggles with her responsibilities as a single mother. Her house begins receiving numerous disturbing phone calls, which no one realizes are in fact being made by George. One night while Susan is out, Kathy receives multiple calls, which unnerve her. C.J. begins claiming he is being followed by a strange man–his father George, unbeknownst to him–but Susan dismisses it as another of his pranks. Later, George murders two of C.J.'s classmates in an abandoned house during a game of hide-and-seek.
The following day, Kathy agrees to babysit the children while Susan attends a party. During the night, George infiltrates the house and murders Kathy with a rock pick. After donning one of C.J.'s Halloween masks, George pursues the children, who have barricaded themselves in the upstairs bedrooms. C.J. obtains a revolver from his mother's dresser, and uses it to shoot George multiple times, eventually killing him.
As he lies dying, George has a full recall of his childhood, including a memory of catching his father engaging in sadomasochistic sex acts with another woman, during which he brutally murdered them both with a felling axe. Susan returns home to find police at her house removing George's body while C.J., sitting in a police car, winks into the camera knowingly.
Only logged in users may leave a review.