The film begins with a mysterious old woman (Philip Friedman) near an ominously lit back window. She smiles and then the screen flashes to black.
A couple, Renai and Josh Lambert (Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson), and their three kids have recently moved into a new house. One morning, Renai begins looking through a family photo album. Her son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), joins her. He asks why there are no pictures of Josh when he was a child, which Renai reasons that he has always been camera shy. After Dalton tells Renai he is scared of his new room, she calms him down and stacks a few books on a nearby shelf. Later, after finding those books laying on the floor, Renai tells Dalton to put them back after he looks at them, but Dalton claims that he didn’t touch them. Sometime later, as Dalton is playing, he hears noises in the attic and goes to investigate. He steps on an old ladder to turn on the light when it breaks, causing Dalton to fall. He starts screaming after looking at a shadowy corner. Renai and Josh help him, then tuck him into bed, confident he only took a minor spill and scared himself. The next day Josh goes to wake Dalton, but he doesn’t move. They rush him to the hospital where the doctors say he is in an unexplained coma. Three months later, still in a coma, they bring Dalton home to care for him there.
Over the next few days, escalating paranormal events begin to occur. One night, after arriving home late, Josh is confronted by Renai about the mysterious happenings in the house, which she claims is haunted. When Josh doesn’t believe her, she shows him a bloody handprint on Dalton’s bedsheets.
Shortly afterwards, Renai is almost attacked by a mysterious man in the bedroom, which triggers the house alarm. Josh rushes to Renai, but he finds no one else in the room. Unable to ignore what is going on, Josh agrees to move. Moving to a new house proves fruitless for the family, as increasingly violent and supernatural events begin to occur again. Josh’s mother (Barbara Hershey), believing what Renai says about the hauntings, contacts a friend of hers, Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), who deals in paranormal activity. Later, the family, Elise, and her team, go into Dalton’s room. There, she sees something on the ceiling and describes it to one of her men, who draws it. It turns out to be a dark, demonic figure with a red face.
Elise explains to Renai and Josh that Dalton has the ability to astral project. This means that he can wander around the parallel spirit world, which she calls The Further, and interact with the lost souls of the dead and demons. He does this in his sleep, which he thinks are simply dreams. She also reveals that his astral projection has attracted a very powerful red-faced demon, which has drawn Dalton into The Further and separated him from his body, in the hopes that he can take it over for his evil purposes. Elise and Josh’s mother reveal to the couple that Josh also can astral project, and that he was terrorized by an old spirit during his childhood. Josh’s mother then shows them forgotten
pictures from Josh’s childhood. In each picture, a shadowy old woman lurks ever closer behind Josh. The spirit is shown to be the old woman from the beginning of the film. Elise suggests that Josh should use his ability of astral projection to enter the Further and free Dalton’s soul. Josh agrees, and Elise instructs Josh how to enter The Further, which he does successfully. Josh finds Dalton and leads him out, narrowly escaping the red-faced demon. Just before Josh himself escapes, he confronts the old woman, affirming that he is unafraid of her. The old woman retreats and looks to have been scared off. Josh awakens, as does Dalton.
Later, Dalton, Renai, and Josh’s mother are in the kitchen, eating. In the other room, Josh converses with Elise when she notices something strange about him; she grabs a camera from her bag and snaps a picture of him. Suddenly, Josh goes into a rage and strangles Elise. Renai hears the noise and runs into the ro
om to find Elise dead. She calls out to Josh, but receives no answer. She picks up the camera that Elise used from the floor, and screams. She sees, not a picture of Josh, but one of the old woman instead. Just then, Josh grabs Renai’s shoulder. She turns around, gasps, and the screen cuts to black.