A man tries to get away from a violent madman, only to discover that the madman is following him in this thriller. Joe (John Mellencamp) is a police photographer who is buckling under the strain of his job as he documents the work of a serial killer preying on young women in Rochester, NY. The killer, an introverted loner named Rye (Michael Zelnicker), trails Joe, convinced they share a spiritual bond, since both are obsessed with Rye's grisly handiwork. Joe takes a leave of absence to get away from the killings, but his home life is stressful enough as he helps care for his aging aunt (Louise Fletcher), whose health is failing, and his brother Sammy (Billy Burke), who is mentally handicapped. Lora (Terrylene) is a woman who works around the house; she can't hear or speak, but that doesn't prevent a romance from growing between her and Joe. But as Lora and Joe grow closer, she begins having nightmares that bear a striking resemblance to Rye's latest crimes, which have been carefully arranged so that Joe will be likely to find them first. Afterimage marked the first screen role for musician John Mellencamp since the 1990 feature Falling From Grace, which he also directed.