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Note from Dan (The Movie Spoiler): This film has a very confusing ending. Many people will have different conclusions...
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The film starts at an FBI office. A man named Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) enters an FBI office. He has information about the notorious 'Hand of God' case that has haunted the area for years. An FBI man calls the town where Fenton came from and the local sheriff, a pregnant woman (important later) says that Fenton stole Adam's body, and an ambulance. The lead investigator on this case, Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) finds Fenton in his office, where he comments on the picture of Doyle and his mother (important later). Fenton reveals that his brother, Adam, gave Fenton a phone call, claiming that the demons in the world were too much, and that he couldn't take it anymore. We see Adam commit suicide (important later).
Doyle is skeptical. He asks Fenton to tell him more about it. He begins:
The flashback starts with young Fenton (Matthew O'Leary) and young Adam (Jeremy Sumpter). They live right in front of the Rose Garden in their town, and their father, known only as Dad (Bill Paxton) is a mechanic. Everything in their life seems to be going fine until that night. Dad enters the kids's room and tells them that an angel visited him.
He says that the angel told him the world is going to end, and that he and his family must kill the demons that Satan has sent to earth in human form. The angel told him that his family would be known as the 'Hands of God', and that 3 holy weapons would be revealed to Dad. Adam, who is about 9, immediately believes the story. Fenton, age 12, is skeptical.
The next day, Dad finds the first weapons when he sees the sun shining through an abandoned farmhouse.
He walks in and the light is shining on a tree stump. On the stump are a pair of gloves and an axe with the name "Otis" inscribed in it. Fenton is scared.
The next day, Dad finds the third weapon, a lead pipe, and receives a message from an angel that gives him a list of demons. When he is working on a car, it extends into a church and an angel flies down to him. Adam tries to make his own list, but it is only a fake list of kids he hates. Dad explains that he must use the gloves to capture the demons. Before he kills them, he must take the gloves off and touch them, and this will reveal them for what they really are.
The night after that, Dad is late getting home. Fenton peers through the window and sees Dad carrying a bodybag with a person in it. Fenton runs out, and Dad calls him in. He calls Adam too. He removes the bodybag, and we see that the first victim is a blonde woman. Fenton begs his dad not to kill her. He explains that he is destroying a demon, not killing a person. He takes off the gloves and touches her head. Dad starts shaking as he touches her. He takes his hand off of her head and raises the axe...
Doyle interrupts Fenton to ask about the factuality of this tale. He also talks about the bodies that have not been found. The FBI only found the notes that went with the bodies, and the first body came with a note that said the other bodies wouldn't be discovered. Fenton reveals that the bodies are probably at the Rose Garden, where he promised he would bury his brother. They go into the car and journey to the garden, as Fenton continues his story.
Dad brings down the axe, killing the lady. He buries the body in the Rose Garden, as Fenton cries. Dad assures him that he will see the demons and God's will during the next killing.
The next killing is two days earlier. The man is an old guy at a parking lot. Dad comforts the children by telling them that they are invisible when they capture demons. Fenton pretends his dog is under the man's car, and as he bends down, Dad strikes him over the head. They take him home. Again, Fenton begs him not to kill the man. Dad touches the man's head, and tells Fenton that he was a child molester and a child killer. He then kills the man again.
As Adam and Fenton bury the body, Fenton says that their father is crazy, and that he wants to run away. Adam runs and tells Dad. Dad talks with Fenton in the morning and makes him dig a hole ten feet wide and across, and fifteen feet deep.
Fenton does not use gloves, and his hands end up bloody and sore. However, he continues to dig until the thing is done.
Dad tells them that they are going to make a basement with the hole, but Fenton knows it will be a dungeon. After the floor is built in, They move a shack on top of it.
The next "demon" is a teenager (!). They throw him in the dungeon, and Dad tells Fenton to commit the murder. He looks at the axe, and Fenton runs out and to Sheriff Small's (Luke Askew) house. Of course, he doesn't believe a word of it, but accompanies Fenton to the house. When he tries to show Smalls the body in the dungeon, he discovers that it has already been buried in the garden. Smalls refuses to look in the garden.
Dad takes this opportunity to tell Fenton that the angel told him that Fenton is demon. He refuses to believe it, because it is his own son. Dad punishes Fenton by locking him in the dungeon. He is given a glass of water everyday through the knotholes, but no food. After a week, he says there is no god, and is kept in there even longer. After a while, Fenton begins to lose his mind, and hallucinates about God. Dad pulls him out, and is proud.
The next demon is a sexist pig. Fenton, who is ready to carry out the task of murder, accompanies Dad to his house, where they say they have a flat tire. He shows them around back, and bends down to get the tire. Dad raises the pipe, but is foiled when Fenton knocks over a tool, making the man turn. He grabs a golf club and jabs Dad. Fenton weakly hits him with the pipe, and the wounded Dad knocks him with the pipe.
At the dungeon, Dad gives Fenton the axe to kill the man, who is cussing through the bind on his mouth. He raises the axe, but slams it into Dad's chest instead. Dad falls to the ground, with tears in his eyes as he looks at his son disappointedly. Fenton takes the gag off of the man's mouth, as Dad whispers something to Adam. The man screams. He has seen Adam running forward with the axe. Adam brings it down in the man's chest, killing him.
Doyle and Fenton arrive at the Rose Garden, and they walk to where the bodies are. Doyle asks Fenton to tell him about the Rose Garden promise. We see a flashback, but it is of Adam promising to Fenton that he will bury him in the Rose Garden. Fenton reveals to Doyle that he is in fact Adam, and that his brother died, because he was a demon. That's why he left the notes, to draw Adam to him. We flashback to Adam walking into Fenton's house, and killing him with the axe while he types on his typewriter. He tells about why he believed Dad, and we see flashbacks to the Blonde with her dead husband in bed, cigarettes stabbed into his neck, and the Old Man inviting a girl into his car and dragging her dead body out later. Adam reveals that he pulled this trick because Doyle was on the list. He touches Doyle's head, affirming his belief that Doyle murdered his own mother. Adam takes the keys from Doyle's pocket, and grabs the axe from a bush nearby and kills Doyle.
There is a big investigation into Doyle's murder. Naturally, they assume Fenton was the killer because that's who they think was talking to Doyle when in fact it was Adam posing as Fenton. In Fenton's house, they find a list of demons that must be killed, with Doyle's name on it.
Agent Hull goes to tell Adam, who is the new sheriff, about the death of his brother, Fenton.
At the end of the movie, Adam is with his wife, the pregnant lady who earlier in the film convinced Doyle that Adam's body in the ambulance was stolen by Fenton.
She and Adam (who only Doyle knew as Fenton) talk about God's missions and demons, as the movie ends.
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