It’s 1988 in a run-down part of Sacramento, California. But amid the boarded-up mansions, Dorothea Puente’s handsome, two-story boardinghouse on a tree-lined street shines like a beacon of hope for those who call it home.
For a nominal monthly fee, the benevolent Dorothea takes in the city’s most down and out—the drunks, crazies and itinerants who don’t have anywhere else to go. One of these is Alvaro ‘Bert’ Montoya, who suffers from mental illness. Despite the fact that Bert prefers the company of ‘spirits’ to people, he comes to Dorothea’s boardinghouse with glowing recommendations from case workers who describe him as a “gentle giant.”
Bert quickly becomes Dorothea’s favorite. But during his tenancy, a foul stench rises up from around the home and hangs in the air like a curse. And unbeknownst to Dorothea, Bert will unwittingly expose something very sinister—and deadly—happening behind closed doors.