In the 1950s, the screwfly threatened to ravage both man and cattle with disease until scientists mutated select specimens with radiation and released them back into the wild. The mutated screwflies bred with others, all but wiping out the species.
In Houston, Texas, Joe Sprig is washing off his patio and chats amiably with his next-door neighbor woman. She notices that he’s apparently washing blood off of the stones. He goes back inside and starts scrubbing blood off of the stove. The neighbor calls the police who come to check out Joe’s house. They find all three women in his family dead, brutally slashed to death. As they take him away, he claims that the Lord told him to murder them.
In Ann Arbor, MI, Anne runs a women’s shelter and is meeting with a battered housewife. Anne suggests the woman go to see her sister in Jacksonville, FL, but the woman says she’s been unable to contact her sister or niece.
That night, Anne is at home with her mother Bella and her daughter Amy, making supper. They catch a newscast of a recent series of murders of women in Iran and Jacksonville, inspired by some kind of religious fervor. Her husband Alan and his older brother Barney arrive. Over supper they discuss how the two men were working on a cane fly infestation in the Middle East and came up with a solution. Bella, an epidemiologist, warns them that they may have simply caused some other problem. She receives a call and is summoned to Jacksonville by the government on a top-secret assignment.
As Bella leaves, Amy spots a shooting star overhead and makes a wish. Later she listens in as her parents make love in the next room. At his office, Barney is examining the outbreaks of violence against women and notices them spread along the southern U.S.
Bella and a CDC escort arrive in Jacksonville where the military insists that they can’t go in, noting 1,100 women have been murdered in Jacksonville. Bella insists on talking for a soldier who was involved with the death of a stripper. She talks to the soldier and asks him about the main religious zealot, Rodney Bearden. The soldier relates how he was in a strip bar with Bearden when the preacher went nuts and attacked a stripper in the middle of her act. The bartender shot Bearden dead but then the soldier finished the job, stabbing the stripper to death. He then lunges at Bella, trying to grab her through the cell bars, and she just manages to back away. She calls Barney who tells her his discovery: the outbreaks of violence against women have followed a straight path east-to-west across the globe along the Horse Latitudes. Bella figures the outbreaks are trigged by sexual arousal in the male killers. She gets on the Internet to confirm the pattern but the Jacksonville mayor comes in and casually stabs her to death.
Later that night, an FBI agent arrives to take Alan to Washington to work on the problem, and tell the family that Bella has been murdered.
Alan and Barney explain to the military and government that it’s possible tamper with insect breeding patterns using enzymes to redirect the sexual urge, and that someone has done the same thing with human male. The military is skeptical of the claim that it is deliberate, believing it’s some kind of terrorist action. Alan points out that no terrorist could do that kind of research and that the manipulation is a deliberate attempt to make humanity extinct. He then explains that they need to evacuate all women north of the 31st parallel, and administer chemical castration to all men. The military are not thrilled with that, until Barney points out the alternative is physical castration.
Anne is preparing the women’s shelter to receive more women and meets with Amy as they go home. Construction workers start whistling at them and one of them comes over and pounds on their car. Anne backs away and almost hits another driver, who casually drive away and runs over two women.
Alan and Barney are experimenting with soldiers, exposing them to pornographic videos to test their degree of sexual arousal and violence, when they get word the plague is spreading north. Barney insists that Alan go home to be with his family. Alan agrees but refuses to receive the chemical suppressant, believing he can spot when he starts to show symptoms. Barney note that he has already taken the shots. Alan catches a flight home but flies into a rage with the female travel agent. Male security guards take another woman away when she can’t get a female-only flight.
Alan gets home and starts making love to his wife, then grabs a knife and prepares to stab her… and wakes up on the plane. One passenger kills a woman and a steward casually snaps the neck of another one who panics. When he arrives, Alan calls Anne and tells her to get a gun then head north and shoot him if she ever sees him again.
In Ontario, Anne and Amy are staying at Barney’s cabin. They practice shooting and return home to discover Alan waiting for them. Amy is eager to be with her father, but Anne wonders why Barney isn’t there and didn’t call. She tries to get hold of Barney but only gets his answering machine. Alan starts groping Amy and Anne points her pistol at him. He shoves Amy aside and goes for Anne, who shoots him in both legs. She gets Amy and drives away, but her daughter doesn’t believe that Alan would turn on them. When she stops for a few minutes to go into the woods, Amy grabs the keys and drives back to the cabin. Anne runs after her on foot but when she gets there she finds Amy dead, killed by Alan. She passes out and is taken to a nearby hospital. Barney finds her there and gets her out, disguising her as a man and slipping by a murderous priest.
A little later, Anne and Barney have moved to Stewart, British Columbia, and are living in a tent in the woods. Barney has pneumonia and she goes to a nearby grocery store to get supplies. Still disguised, she overhears several locals and their boys talking about glowing “angels” in the forest.
A month later, Anne is forced to bury Barney and returns to the grocery store. Now the men are talking about how the Lord called upon them to kill their sons. She slips out but the men notice her as a woman and follow her. She tries to pull into the trees but the men spot her and follow her through the woods. She spots some bright white lights flashing through the trees and hide. The men spot the lights and go to investigate, and see two “angels.” One of the men goes for his gun and the “angel” kills him with a burst of light and heat from its hand. The other man starts quoting the Bible and they kill him too, then take blood samples and begin to experiment. Anne slips away and shivers in the woods. Another falling star passes overhead as she realizes who… or what… have been experimenting on humanity with the purpose of exterminating it.
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