Jack Nicholson stars as Will Randall, the chief editor at a New York City publishing firm, who as the film opens is driving down a snowy Vermont road when his car slams into a wolf. He gets out to investigate and is bitten, and shortly thereafter begins to experience some unusual effects. The first changes are apparent in the sudden acuity of his sensory perceptions and a marked shift in personality. No longer a meek, easygoing man, Will becomes decidedly "wolfish" in fighting for his job when billionaire Raymond Alden (Christopher Plummer) takes over the publishing firm and threatens to replace him with the weasel-like sycophant Stewart Swinton (James Spader). Meanwhile, Alden's beautiful daughter (Michelle Pfeiffer) begins to fall for him, without realizing that the man she's begun to love is gradually turning into someone-or something-else.