Michael (Spader), a shy, socially awkward yuppie, meets the extroverted Alex (Lowe), a mysterious stranger who teaches him to be assertive and take risks. When things go too far, however, and Michael wants out, Alex takes it upon himself to convince Michael to reconsider his decision - one way or another.
This film features examples of:
- The Corrupter: Alex enjoys corrupting Michael into giving into his dark side.
- Frame-Up: Alex frames Michael for Claire's death, with whom Michael had slept with.
- Golf Clubbing: Alex kills Claire in Michael's apartment with a golf club.
- Ironic Echo: Alex at one point says, "You make a very funny face when you come" to Michael while watching the videotape he made of Michael having sex, much to the latter's horror. Later in the film, Michael turns this around by saying, "Has anyone ever told you you make a very funny face when you come?" while holding a knife to Alex's throat.
- Misanthrope Supreme: Alex, who justifies himself for the evil things that he does with claims that all people are hypocrites who simply try to play innocent.
- Snuff Film: Alex makes a homemade snuff film of him killing Claire, which he then makes Michael watch.
- The Sociopath: Alex doesn't have a shred of guilt about the evil things he does.