Dr. Holk leads a lonely life in a small dutch colony in the tropics. Fled from love and civilisation his only companions are alcohol and his work, which takes him to the villages ravaged by dirt, fever, fear and a strange illness turning innocent people into madmen: Amok. One day he receives a visit by the young and beautiful Hèlène Haviland, who asks him to abort her lover's child before her husband returns. Even though Holk is infatuated by her seductive beauty, he haughtily refuses her request. Hélène seeks help from a Chinese practitioner. When Holk - driven by his fevered love and agony - finds her again in a dirty dive, it is already too late.