On the way to deliver candles to a church, the virginal daughter (Birgitta Pettersson) of feudal landowner Töre (Max von Sydow) is savagely raped and murdered.
This part of the synopsis probably couldn't be avoided, since it is what drives the action, but it doesn't happen until about halfway through the movie, so it feels like I've just had half the movie given away to me.
But fate takes a vengeful hand when the killers unknowingly seek food and shelter at the girl's home.
This happens about 2/3 of the way through the movie. So now I know all but the ending.
Will the grief-stricken Töre learn the truth about his visitors?
The answer is, "Yes, and pretty quickly." Between the previous sentence and this one in the synopsis, there's only about a 10- or 15-minute break. This synopsis kept me in suspense as to what was going to happen next for 15 whole minutes. By setting this up as the main question of the story (a far more accurate one would be "What will he do when he learns the truth?") they make it seem like one of those movies where people are struggling the entire time to maintain their hidden identity... and it really, really isn't.
The synopsis is supposed to give you a hint as to the premise so you can decide whether or not you want to watch it, but most of the movie information should still come from the movie itself. I don't know exactly how to write good synopses for movies where action moves slowly. But there must be a better option than this.