Vilmer is presented as the head of a family of serial killers, which includes two brothers: the excitable W.E. Sawyer and the chainsaw wielding transvestite known as Leatherface. Vilmer is accompanied by his lover Darla, a married woman who, while independently minded, often suffers great abuse at Vilmer's discretion. Vilmer drives around in an unidentified rural Texas town in his tow truck hunting down fresh victims to bring back to his house. He wears a custom built mechanical leg brace made from a hodgepodge of hoses, medal rods and electrical devices. He operates the brace's locomotive controls with several remote controls, which he keeps tucked away inside of his pants pocket. The nature of Vilmer's leg injury is never revealed, but according to W.E., he has been shot and run over several times throughout his life.
Vilmer is first referenced in the film when Darla telephones him from her place of business to alert him about a car crash a mile down the road. He pulls up to the scene of the incident in his truck where he finds a boy named Sean and an unconscious crash victim. Examining the victim, he tells Sean that the man is dead. Sean protests, declaring that he's still alive, at which point Vilmer snaps the man's neck dryly stating, "He's dead now". Following this, he chases and torments Sean, ultimately running him down with his truck. He punctuates the incident by repeatedly running back and forth over the body.
Later in the film, he encounters Sean's friend Jenny (Renée Zellweger). Jenny accepts a ride from Vilmer, but quickly realizes that he is insane when he angrily reveals Sean and the other boy's remains suspended upside down in the back of his truck. Jenny leaps from the moving vehicle, and Vilmer briefly gives chase until she runs into the woods. He decides to let her go, but before long, she is captured and brought back to the family home. Darla, taking sympathy with Jenny's plight, tries to comfort her, stating that Vilmer isn't so bad once you get to know him. At this point, she reveals that Vilmer and the other members of his family are part of a secret society selected to carry out special deeds, not the least of which includes torturing innocent people.
In a later scene, Jenny manages to pick up a shotgun and holds Vilmer and the others at bay. While W.E. and Leather cower in fear, the sadomasochistic Vilmer taunts her, baiting her to shoot him. He also displays a penchant for self-mutilation at this point, demonstrated when he begins dragging a blade across his chest. As Jenny watches in horror, Vilmer snatches the gun from her hand. She is then tied up and bound to a chair in the dining room. The dinner sequence from the film involves the established characters, Jenny's friend Heather (an earlier victim who had been terrorized by Leather), and a menagerie of corpses propped up in chairs. Also present is an elderly man in a black suit, an analog to the grandfather figure featured in previous films. During this scene, Vilmer displays more intense psychotic behavior and even turns against his brother W.E. by striking him with a hammer. Vilmer also attacks Heather, first by setting her on fire, then by stepping down on her head with his braced leg crushing her skull.
The meal is interrupted by the appearance of a man named Rothman. Rothman is clearly a member of the secret organization that Vilmer belongs to, and he expresses great displeasure with Vilmer's methods, reminding him that the purpose of their group is to teach people the meaning of horror. Rothman is the only character in the movie that Vilmer appears to be subservient to.
Jenny soon frees herself and temporarily hobbles Vilmer by incapacitating his mechanical leg brace. Vilmer quickly recovers however and gives chase as Jenny races out of the house. Leather and Vilmer pursue her into a nearby field. A pilot in a single-engine airplane witnesses the incident and intervenes on Jenny’s behalf. Diving in low, he strikes Vilmer across the head with the propeller of his plane, killing him instantly.
- In an interview, Next Generation director Kim Henkel described Vilmer as a "kind of a reincarnation of the Hitchhiker" from the 1974 original.
- The nature of Rothman's organization is never fully revealed, though according to Darla they have been controlling major events for the past 1,000 – 2,000 years. Darla even credited them with the Kennedy assassination. Rothman states that their function is to bring people to a state of pure horror, purportedly to satisfy some spiritual need. It is also implied that Rothman's organization is the Illuminati. The word "Illuminati" is seen stenciled on the doors of Vilmer's tow truck early in the film. Vilmer also mentions at one point that the F.B.I. has them under constant surveillance with transmitters planted all throughout the house. Though it is possible that Vilmer is lying, it lends credibility to the idea that his brothers and he are able to ply their trade without interference from law enforcement.
Vilmer Slaughter was at the age of 27 when he was killed.