Brian Cox does a fine job as Avery Ludlow, widower, shop keeper, owner of Red, a mature dog who was given to Avery as a puppy, a past gift from his deceased wife.
Soft spoken and non-confrontational, Avery is bullied by three boys while he is out fishing. When one of the little psychopaths, angry because Avery doesn't have anything of value to steal, shoots Red in the head, Avery begins a campaign to make the boys, then the boys' parents, take responsibility for the action.
Avery is driven by events in his own past, by the knowledge that when bad behavior by children is not addressed, terrible things can happen. There are no easy answers here, sometimes good parents can find themselves dealing with an inexplicably bad child. Sometimes bad parents can facilitate monsters. And in either case there is little help from society in preventing atrocity, or awarding justice to victims.
Thoughtful script, and solid work by the entire cast: Cox has so much depth; Sizemore and Fisher as father and son psychopaths deliver the highest creep factor; Robert Englund was marvelous as a shifty, out of work redneck.