Recovering from an ambush that killed his entire team, a vengeful vampire slayer must retrieve an ancient Catholic relic that, should it be acquired by vampires, will allow them to walk in sunlight.
The church has long known that vampires exist. However, it is discovered that a group of vampires are searching for a powerful doom for mankind. The Vatican then secretly enlists a team of vampire-hunters, led by Jack Crow, to hunt down and destroy the vampires before they find the crucifix.
Since his parents had been killed by vampires in front of his eyes, Jack Crow lives for revenge. As a grown-up, he is a fanatic vampire-hunter who works with a good team in a professional manner. One night, after the successful deletion of a nest, the master vampire Valek successfully deletes his team and the party hookers. As Valek knew Jack's name, Jack knows that the vampires are up to something big. Together with his only living colleague Tony Montoya, Katrina, a hooker who will turn into a vampire soon, and newly assigned unexperienced greenhorn priest Father Adam Guiteau he sets out to find the black cross first. If they fail, vampires can walk in the sun from then on.
- Jack Crow (James Woods) is a professional and Vatican-funded vampire slayer. He and his team of slayers have just rooted out a nest of nine vampires in the New Mexico desert but, disappointingly, the master vampire--Jan Valek--was not there. Still, the team is partying at the Sun God Motel, rejoicing in their victory. Unbeknown to the slayers,
Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith) is in the adjoining room, seducing and biting Katrina (Sheryl Lee), a hooker hired for the party. Before Jack is even aware of Valek's presence, Valek has viciously slain his entire team as well as all the hookers. During the battle, Valek says Jack's name, which takes the slayer by surprise. Only Jack, Katrina, and Jack's partner Montoya (Daniel Baldwin) manage to escape.
After beheading and burning the bodies of his team (to make sure they don't turn into vampires), Jack goes directly to Cardinal Alba (Maximilian Schell) for further instructions. Alba has more bad news. Their European team was also wiped out three days ago near Cologne, Germany, and a portrait of Jan Valek was found there. According to archivist, Father Adam Guiteau (Tim Guinee), Valek was a 14th century priest who turned against the church and was burned at the stake for heresy. After his death, however, Valek became a vampire, the first of his kind. The Vatican wants Jack to rebuild his team, and they give him Guiteau as his first replacement. Jack wants nothing to do with the milquetoast bookworm, especially because he suspects the team's slaying was a setup, and it could just as easily have been Guiteau as anyone else in the church. After physically abusing Guiteau a few times, Jack levels with him. He shows him a map of where nests of vampires have been killed in the Southwest since the 1800s.
It shows a pattern of an ever-widening circle, and Jack thinks that they're searching for something. Furthermore, he thinks they might be searching for a black cross that he heard of when he was young.
Meanwhile, Montoya and Katrina are holed up in a hotel. Katrina hasn't turned yet and, when she finds out that she's been bitten by a vampire. Montoya wants to keep her around because of her telepathic link to Valek. She tries to commit suicide by jumping off a ledge but Montoya manages to pull her back through the window, but he cuts his arm while doing so, and Katrina grabs it and starts sucking. Montoya knocks her out and then burns the bite with a lighter, hoping to sterilize it from the sickness that will convert him. When Katrina awakens, she starts having visions. The first one is of Valek in a church in San Miguel County. The next vision shows Valek looking at a map and then killing a priest. Guiteau offers to get a list of all the churches in the county, a clue that leads them to Father Molina, whose body was found decapitated and laying alongside a dirt road.
After further brutal interrogation by Jack, Guiteau finally confesses that Molina was the only one in the world who knew the whereabouts of the black Bersier cross, an ancient relic from the Old World (Europe) that was used in the exorcism meant to drive the demons from Valek's body. Unfortunately, the exorcism resulted in turning him into a vampire was never completed, leaving Valek vulnerable to the sun. He needs the cross now to finish the ritual. If he succeeds, he will be able to live in the daytime. A master vampire able to walk in the sun would be unstoppable.
It's sundown and Valek with a new group of vampires are rising from the ground where they sleep. Through her telepathic connection to Valek, Katrina can tell that he is accompanied by seven other master vampires. She can see them headed into a small Spanish mission. She can see the vampires brutally slaying the mission clerics. And she can see Valek taking down the black cross. "He's got it!" she smiles.
The next day Katrina leads Jack and Montoya to the small, deserted town of Santiago where she says Valek is hiding in the best-constructed building in town -- the jailhouse. With only three slayers and as many as 30 vampires, Jack, Montoya, and Guiteau have their work cut out for them. As the day wears on, Guiteau lures out the vampires, Jack shoots stakes into their chests from his crossbow, and Montoya drives the winch that pulls the vampires out into the sun where they burn up. With the sun setting rapidly, it is time to end the day's work before the other vampires wake up. Montoya and Katrina escape in the jeep, Guiteau hides behind a counter in a restaurant, finding a shotgun, but Valek catches Jack and ties him up.
Jack wonders why Valek just doesn't kill him. Suddenly, Cardinal Alba steps out of the shadows. Admitting he was the one who betrayed the slayers, he says he's struck a deal with Valek to give him immortality for finishing the ritual that will complete Valek's transformation.
Meanwhile, Katrina has completed her change. She bites Montoya's neck, drinks some of his blood, and then leaves him for dead in the jeep and rejoins Valek and his vampires. Montoya shoots off a few rounds with his gun and then places the hot barrel to his neck, hoping to sterilize the bite.
The ceremony is beginning, and Jack discovers that he is to part of it, because the ceremony requires a ritual sacrifice by crucifixion of a slayer at the moment of dawn. The vampires tie Jack to a cross and Alba begins by slicing Jack's leg, collecting the blood, and passing it to Valek to drink. As the sun begins to rise, Guiteau (who has been listening to everything from his hiding place in the restaurant) shoots Alba. With no priest to finish the ritual, Valek tries to force Guiteau to do it, but Guiteau turns the gun on himself. Just when it looks like Guiteau might have to shoot himself, Montoya appears in the jeep. He fires a stake into the cross and, using the winch, pulls it down. Guiteau leaps forward and cuts Jack free. As the sun continues to rise, the vampires run for cover, with Jack and Guiteau following.
They trap Valek, who leaps at Jack. Jack holds up the Bersier cross and Valek lands on it, impaling himself. As Valek attempts to pull out the cross, Jack pulls down the dilapidated ceiling. The sunlight streams in, and Valek bursts into flames.
In the final scene, knowing that they have more vampires to kill, Montoya finally admits to Jack that he's been bitten twice by Katrina, who is lying in the back of the truck in order to stay out of the sun. He also says that he can no longer function as a slayer and that he intends to take Katrina south where he can take care of her. Guiteau tries to kill Montoya, but Jack steps between them. Knowing that Montoya was first bitten two days ago but still saved his life in the fight with the vampires, Jack figures he owes Montoya two days. However, he promises that, when those two days are up, he will hunt down Montoya and Katrina and kill both of them. The soon-to-be-turned vamp Montoya and the vampire Katrina drive away while Jack and Guiteau stay behind to clean up the town of the surviving vampires before pursing them.
[Original Synopsis by bj_kuehl.]