A man kills several of his business partners and his estranged ex-wife then runs away with his children: a young Victoria and baby Lilly. After speeding on a remote, snowy road, he crashes into the woods and takes the children to an abandoned cabin he wanders upon nearby. Realizing the mistakes he has made, he prepares to commit murder suicide but at the last moment is killed by a strange figure in the cabin. Victoria looks at the figure but only sees a blur as her glasses were broken in the crash.Five years later, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) have been madly searching for his brother and nieces using the inheritance of his brother. The searchers stumble upon the crashed car and find the two children in the cabin. In this time, they have become completely like animals, with Victoria physically shielding Lilly in a defensive stance to the intruders. They are put under the care of a psychiatrist, Dr. Dreyfuss. There is a legal dispute over custody of the children between Lucas and a rich aunt on the childrens’ mother’s side, while the court questions the ability of Lucas and Annabel to raise the children in a small apartment with little income given their special needs. Dr. Dreyfuss agrees to recommend Lucas and Annabel as the childrens’ legal guardians as long as they agree to move into a special home used to perform case studies, knowing that he would not be able to monitor their progress if their aunt, who lives on the other side of the country, were to obtain custody.