On May 21, 1973, six people conduct The Charles Experiment, a parapsychological experiment, in which they stare at a drawing of a deceased man, Charles Reamer, hoping to summon his spirit. Years later, four college students, Patrick (Tom Felton), Lydia (Julianna Guill), Ben (Sebastian Stan) and Greg (Luke Pasqualino) attempt to recreate the Charles Experiment on a larger scale by using modern technology. During the experiment, something attacks the students and pulls Lydia into the wall.
Some time later, Ben and his girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene) are living together. One evening, they discover strange burn marks on their counters. Kelly finds both doors wide open, even though they had locked them. They decide to change the locks and install surveillance cameras. Later, Kelly finds a large amount of mold and spores on the laundry room floor while Ben finds even more in a crawlspace. Ben gets 36 “urgent” emails from Patrick that first inform him of a new attempt at the Charles Experiment, followed by a warning that “containment failed” and finally “you are in danger”.
After witnessing an apparition, the couple go to a hotel, but they are attacked there as well. As they flee, they receive a call from Patrick and meet him. Patrick explains that the initial experiment enabled a malevolent entity to enter their world, but that he has built a room surrounded by a negative current that he believes protects him from it. They return to Kelly and Ben’s house to try a new experiment to contain the entity. During the experiment, the house begins to shake and break apart, then abruptly stops. While Kelly and Ben are outside, Patrick is pulled into the darkness and vanishes. Unable to find Patrick, they flee to the safety chamber in his house.