A police psychologist and his school-age son become embroiled in the machinations of a mysterious cult religion in this thriller from director John Schlesinger. After his wife is electrocuted in a freak accident, Dr. Cal Jamison (Martin Sheen) and his son, Chris (Harley Cross), move back to Manhattan, where Cal went to school. When not spending time with his son and surrogate extended family -- husband-and-wife anthropologists Kate (Elizabeth Wilson) and Dennis Maslow (Lee Richardson) -- Cal settles into his new job and romances his landlady, Jessica Halliday (Helen Shaver). Soon, though, a series of brutal murders of young children begins to take over Cal's life. Through the ravings of policeman Tom Lopez (Jimmy Smits), who believes the killers have supernatural power over him after stealing his badge, Cal learns of Santeria, a voodoo-like Latin American sect that mixes elements of Christianity and pagan mysticism. Although the religion turns out to have ties to some of the richest men in the city and even Cal's well-meaning maid seems to be a practitioner, he can't get any straight answers as to whether the cult is responsible for the murders. But after a sinister African shaman (Malick Bowens) places a curse on Jessica, Cal finally begins to understand the danger that faces him -- and his son. The Believers was very loosely adapted from Nicholas Conde's 1982 novel The Religion.
by Brian J. Dillard synopsis