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In present-day rural Tennessee, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a Fundamentalist preacher must discover the source of his madness before he kills her and her friends--a supernatural figure who claims to be Jesus Christ has convinced him that he must kill his daughter to save her soul. At age sixteen, Sheldon Sprigg chases down a neighbor's goats who had invaded the garden. They run into the barn. Sheldon finds his father hanging, his eyes gouged out by goat hooves. Thirty years later he is a preacher obsessed with having his sixteen-year-old daughter, Ginny, live a good life to avoid the fires of Hell. Sheldon believes his father went to Hell after his suicide, and he cannot bear another family member going there. Ginny is mildly rebellious, but Sheldon takes that to be a sign of her future corruption and damnation. Ginny's best friend Susie, a sharp-spoken transplant from New York City, talks her into going to a bar and having a drink. Sheldon believes that alcohol is of the devil, and Ginny knows this. Meanwhile, Sheldon has a mystical experience -- a mysterious breeze blows his Bible open to a passage about God's judgment, and a bright light shines into his bedroom from outside. When he walks outside, a cloud of black moths hides his view while other black moths form a Jesus figure. Sheldon, believing a miracle has occurred, accepts the false Jesus as the real Jesus Christ and asks how he can keep Ginny from going to hell. "Jesus" tells Sheldon about Ginny's visit to the bar and tells him to punish her severely. "Jesus" says that Sheldon has been way too easy on his daughter, spoiling her. The next day, over the objections of his wife, Elma, Sheldon slaps Ginny. Sheldon orders Ginny not to go to the school dance, but Susie invents a cover story about Ginny babysitting her neighbor's children. She calls Ginny, playing the part of the neighbor, and Sheldon buys into the ruse. Susan and Ginny go to the dance. There Ginny meets Paul, who is a bit "nerdy" but someone Ginny comes quickly to like. Throughout their budding romance they work with Susie to discover the source of Sheldon's sudden violence. The violence worsens when the fake Jesus informs Sheldon about Ginny's deception, and suggests that Sheldon must kill her before she gets evil to the point that she cannot escape Hell. Ginny tells Paul and Susie that the barn on their property is odd the angles are not right, and the barn is in pristine condition despite being over 100 years old. The red paint looks fresh even though it is the original paint used on the barn. Inside the barn is a hole that seems to lead to the source of the power. With the help of an elderly neighbor, Mr. Miller, the teenagers discover that the barn has a power to bring out the heart of a person's character a good person might become a healer and do great good for the world, but a bad person will use newfound power in evil ways and become a monster. Sheldon tries multiple times to kill Ginny, and Ginny sees no choice other than to kill her father before he kills her. The false Jesus continues to agitate Sheldon, and eventually there is a violent confrontation at the barn during which Sheldon kills Susie and Ginny is severely injured. She is taken to the hospital, but Sheldon, with his new found power, kidnaps Ginny and takes her back to the barn. Mr. Miller rushes Elma and Paul back to the barn. In the meantime, Ginny, who had earlier taken Sheldon's knife, stabs him to death just as he is about to kill her. He falls into the abyss in the barn floor. The Jesus figure disintegrates, but soon it seems he returned when a bearded man steps into the barn. Ginny stabs at him, but the blade passes through, striking only air. The man stoops over Susie, a light forms around her, and she comes back to life. The man disappears. While all is well for now, Ginny realizes that she has a lifelong task of hiding the barn from onlookers, making sure it is lost to the forest, and to tell her descendants to keep watch so that no one else can access the deadly power in the earth beneath the barn.