One night in 1989, an East Texas couple (Vinessa Shaw and Michael C. Hall) wake to the sound of someone prowling their house. Husband Richard gets the pistol out of the shoebox on the bedroom closet shelf and loads it. Down the hall, a flashlight beam is dancing in the livingroom. Richard steps in to surprise the masked intruder. Masked intruder is duly surprised. So is Richard when the gun he just loaded goes off in his hand, not quite on its own, but almost. (It didn’t help that Richard’s wife Ann stepped up behind him just then and asked what was happening.) Now the intruder sits/falls on the livingroom couch, his blood all over the couch, the wall behind it, and that nice painting of a summer landscape hanging there. It takes him only an additional second to die.
Despite ordinary citizen Richard’s discomfiture with having shot and killed somebody, local law enforcement assures him all will be well. True, the victim turned out to be unarmed, but he was a known scumbag and Richard acted out of “fear of life.” Besides, the guy was the son of a previous-generation scumbag (“The shit don’t fall far from the tree”) serving a long sentence in Huntsville. Except, oh, it seems that that fella just got out on parole. And there he is, standing at the edge of the cemetery watching the perfunctory burial of his offspring, and wishing Richard a nice day.