The film opens with the sudden death of a wife and mother (Pamela Weddle Cooper) at the hands of her adolescent son, Ed, (Trace Cooper), when the hunting rifle the boy is cleaning for his father, Big Ed (Jack Chatham), discharges, the bullet hitting his mother in the back. Upon returning home, Big Ed discovers his wife's body, causing him to suffer a break from reality, and his relationship with his son is permanently soured.
Years later, Ed (Matt Mitler), now in college, is asked by his father to close up the family's beachfront condominium at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, primarily used by the latter as something of a clubhouse for he and his hunting partners, and his friends, eager for something to do over fall break, accompany him. Once there, unbeknownst to the group, Big Ed is waiting for the group, hiding in the basement, and plans to kill his son.
Over the course of the night, Big Ed murders Ed's friends one by one, drowning Linda (Frances Raines) in the pool, cutting open Mike (Morey Lampley) with a boat motor, decapitating a police officer (Bennie Moore), impaling Ralph with a flounder gig, and gutting Sue (Connie Rogers) with a large fishing gaff, and stores their bodies in the condominium's basement.
When Ed and Pam (Ruth Martinez) stumble upon the remains of Big Ed's victims, they notice him approaching, prompting them to hide. Ed is ultimately found by his father, who stabs him in the leg but is unable to kill him after Pam intervenes, stabbing him but not killing him. Big Ed attacks the two one more time, before Pam is able to start the car and use it to drive him into a concrete wall, cutting him in half.
As Big Ed lies dying, police arrive on the scene, and an officer (John Bode) has his leg cut off by Big Ed before he succumbs to his injuries. The movie ends with Ed and Pam at the hospital, seemingly recovering from their ordeal.
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