|“||The Further is a world far beyond our own, yet it's all around us, a place without time as we know it. It's a dark realm filled with the tortured souls of the dead, a place not meant for the living.||”|
— Elise Rainier about the Further.
Renai and Josh Lambert have recently moved into a new house with their three children. One morning, Renai looks through a family photo album with her young son, Dalton, who asks why there are no pictures of Josh when he was a child. Renai reasons that Josh has always been camera shy and dislikes having his picture taken. Later, Dalton goes to investigate noises in the attic and falls down a broken ladder. The next day, Dalton falls into a mysterious coma, with doctors being unable to give any explanation as to why.
Three months later, Dalton, still trapped in the coma is moved back to his home so his parents can take care of him. Shortly after, disturbing supernatural events begin to occur. After being attacked by a spectral figure one night, Renai is able to convince a skeptical Josh that the family should move, as she believes their house is haunted.
In the new house, the supernatural events soon begin to occur again, with Renai encountering the ghost of a little boy. Josh's mother, Lorraine visits the family and explains that she had a dream about a shadowy figure who claims that he wants Dalton. Dalton's bedroom is then ransacked by supernatural forces. This prompts Lorraine to contact a friend, Elise Rainier, who specializes in the investigation of paranormal activity. Elise claims to see the same figure from Lorraine's dream inside of the house and describes it as a demonic, red-faced figure with hollow dark eyes.
Elise explains to Renai and Josh that Dalton has the ability of astral projection (which he performed subconsciously and mistook for dreams while he slept), and that his spiritual body has become trapped somewhere called "The Further"- a place for the tormented souls of the dead. While Dalton's spirit is in this other world, his physical body is left as an empty vessel. The tormented souls in The Further and the demonic figure are all attempting to take over Dalton's lifeless body- a process that takes much time and effort.
Skeptical at first, Josh refuses but later relents when he discovers Dalton had been drawing pictures based on his astral projections before the coma began, including a drawing of the demon described by his mother and Elise. They run a session to try to communicate with Dalton, which ends with the family and Elise's team being attacked by spirits and the demon, who temporarily is able to control Dalton's body. After the session, Elise calls Lorraine and the two reveal to Josh and Renai that Josh also holds the ability to astral project. As a child, he was terrorized by the parasitic spirit of an old woman who wished to possess his body. Elise managed to help Josh forget about his ability to astral project, and had his mother hide old photographs of him as a child (which contained images of the old woman), leading to his disdain for having his picture taken. Elise suggests that Josh should use his ability to find and help return Dalton's soul.Elise places Josh in a trance, and he is able to project his spirit body into the shadowy world of The Further. After encountering a spectral apparition of himself as a child, Josh makes his way in The Further to the same home that he and his family had recently moved out of. After encountering various spirits, Josh is able to find a red door, but is violently ambushed by the spectral figure that attacked Renai. Josh defeats him and enters a dark location, the Demon's lair, and discovers Dalton chained to the floor inside a cavernous theater.
Josh sets Dalton free, but the two are discovered and attacked by the demon and forced to flee. In the real world, the spirits of The Further begin to cross over, seeking to take hold of Dalton and Josh's bodies. Back in The Further, Josh leaves his son to confront the spirit of the old woman, who appears before him. As he shouts for her to get away from him, screaming that he isn't afraid of her, she retreats into the darkness. Dalton is forced to flee from the demon once again. Moments later in the real world, Josh and Dalton both awaken, and all of the spirits vanish back to The Further.
With the family now happily reunited, Renai, Dalton, and Lorraine chat in the kitchen as Elise and Josh pack up Elise's supplies in the living room. Suddenly, Elise senses something and quickly takes a picture of Josh. He promptly goes into a barbaric rage and then tackles Elise and strangles her to death. Renai hears Josh yelling and goes into the room to find Elise dead and Josh gone. She frantically searches for Josh but cannot find him. She then checks Elise's camera, seeing a picture of the shadowy old woman, implying that she has possessed Josh's body following their confrontation in The Further. Josh (apparently behind his wife) puts a hand on Renai and says "I'm right here.". She turns and gasps in horror as the film ends.
In a post-credits scene, the shadowy, old woman can be seen blowing out a candle and the screen fades into total darkness.
In 1986, a medium named Carl calls upon his friend Elise to help discover what is haunting Lorraine Lambert's son, Josh. After hypnotizing Josh, Elise attempts to find the location of Josh's "friend" (an old woman who appears in photographs of Josh) through playing Hot or Cold. After warnings from Josh, Elise makes her way to his bedroom closet and is scratched along the arm. As a result, Lorraine, Carl, and Elise agree that making Josh forget his astral projection abilities is the best thing to do.
Twenty-five years later, Josh's wife Renai is under questioning by a police detective about the death of Elise. Unsettled by the theory that her husband is a killer, Renai rejoins her family as they relocate to Lorraine's house. As everyone goes to bed, Renai begins witnessing strange occurrences throughout the house such as the piano playing by itself when Renai is not in the room. Josh, who is suspected by Renai to be inhabited by the old woman, tells her not to worry and that everything will be okay.
The next day, Renai sees a woman wearing a white dress sitting in the living room. Following the cries of her baby throughout the house, Renai comes face-to-face with the woman in white and is knocked unconscious. During this time, Lorraine visits Elise's colleagues Specs and Tucker to seek an explanation behind the strange events. In doing so, they call upon Carl, who listens to Lorraine's story and attempts to contact Elise on the other side using word-dice. Through the dice, they are told to find answers at the "Our Lady of Angels" hospital (the former workplace of Lorraine). Led through the hospital to the ICU, Lorraine recounts a story of a patient named Parker Crane, who committed suicide by jumping off the roof many years ago. The four decide that Elise is leading them to this man's house. After breaking into Parker's home, they find a black gown and veil as well as newspaper clippings about a man referred to as "The Bride in Black" who kidnapped and murdered several people while dressed as a woman. It is then revealed to them that it was not Elise speaking through the dice, but actually Parker's mother.
After Renai recovers with Josh at her side, Lorraine arrives home and insists that she, Renai, and the kids get away from Josh. In the car, she explains the origin of "The Bride In Black" and the theory that the real Josh is trapped in the Further. At this same moment, Carl arrives at the house to drug the Josh (possessed by Parker Crane) while Specs and Tucker monitor from their van parked outside. The plan fails, however, and Josh incapacitates Carl, Specs and Tucker. After receiving a message saying everything is okay, Lorraine and Renai return to the house only to be ambushed by Josh. Locking Lorraine in the closet, Josh attempts to choke Renai but is knocked over the head with a bat by Dalton, who has returned home with Foster. Renai and the children then escape to the basement where they barricade themselves in the laundry room. Lying down in a corner with a tin can telephone, Dalton falls asleep and returns to the Further to rescue his father. Simultaneously, Josh begins making his way into the room by hammering through the drywall.
Meanwhile, in the Further, the real Josh stumbles upon Carl and the two look for Elise, finding her at the Lamberts's previous home. The three then proceed to Parker's house where they witness his mother, the woman in white, abusing him as a child, whereby she attempts to convince him that he is a girl. The mother notices the group observing and locks Carl and Elise out of the room. When Josh turns around, the room is dark and filled with standing bodies covered by sheets. Upon finding Parker's mother among the bodies, the two engage in a fight where she nearly chokes Josh to death. Just as Parker, who possessed Josh's body is about to kill Dalton's physical body, Elise enters the room with the help of young Parker and saves Josh by hitting the woman in white from behind. After the three escape the house, they meet Dalton, who assists Carl and Josh to return to real time. After Josh and Dalton wake up as themselves, their memories of their astral projection abilities are forgotten through a process of hypnosis as the screen turns white.
The screen turns to Specs and Tucker proceed to go to a family whose daughter, Allison, is in an unexplained coma. Unbeknownst to them, Elise enters the home and approaches Allison. Suddenly, she senses a demonic presence behind the girl before she exclaims "Oh my God" and gasps as the screen cuts to the title.
The Residents of the Further
Among the souls that dwell in the Further are Elise Rainer, The Doll Family, Long-haired Fiend, a little boy, The Bride In Black, Michelle Crane (formerly), and The Crying Woman, The Lipstick-Face Demon, The Wheezing Demon (formerly).
The Doll Family are the spirits of a family that died violently, with one of twin daughters killing her family members (her twin sister, her mother and her father) and then herself. They are doomed to relive their last moments. Having been made to relive their deaths over and over again, it is hinted that they have come to enjoy it. The reason they are called The Doll Family is because they have been made to resemble mannequins.
The Ghoul, or the Long-haired Fiend, is the spirit of a violent man. Judging from his appearance and mannerisms, it is possible that he may have been a thug and a murderer when he was alive. In the film, he assaults Renai two times on seperate occasions.
The Little Boy is actually not a little boy at all, being the spirit of a an old man who apparently suffered from dwarfism. While he is not a child, he is very mischievous, playing tricks on Renai (changing the song she was playing to Tip Toe Through The Tulips and also hiding in Dalton's closet and then jumping out at her in order to scare her). He is later seen chuckling and running through the hallway in the Further by Josh.
The Crying Woman is seen when Josh first enters the Further. It is not explained why she is crying but it can be assumed that she died under tragic circumstances. Out of all the spirits encountered in the Further, she seems to be the least malevolent.
The Old Woman is revealed in Chapter 2, is the spirit of Parker Crane, a serial killer who dressed in a black veil and a dress while killing his victims. She had been trying to steal Josh's body since he was a boy.She had befriended his astral body in the hopes of luring him out into the Further and taking possession of his body. In every picture that was taken of Josh as a child, she seemed to get closer and closer. For this reason, Josh has a fear of getting his picture taken.
Michelle Crane is Parker's mother, who caused him to become the serial killer he was. She forced him to act and dress like a girl and made him refer to himself as Marylyn. She would then force him to kill people, which eventually resulted in him killing her.
The Further seems to be under the control of the Demon. The Demon is a tall creature with pointed ears, two horns on its head, snake-like eyes, a forked tongue, spider-like fingers and hooves for feet. Its skin is literally black with the exception of the distinct red markings on its face. While the Old Woman is interested in obtaining Josh's body, the Demon seems more interested in Dalton. Though the Demon never speaks in the film, it is capable of speaking, as Lorraine mentions that in a dream she had she spoke to it and it responded to her in words.
When asked who it was, it responded that it was a visitor. When asked what it wants, it responded that it wanted Dalton. Lorraine claimed she could still hear its voice, implying that the Demon has a chilling voice. The Demon keeps Dalton close by in his home in the Further, which seems to be a theatre-like chamber.
The Demon has marionettes which it likes to play with. It also seems to enjoy sharpening its nails. The Demon hurts Dalton whenever he makes noise. From this description, it can be gathered that the Demon is a bit of a ham, having an interest in threatrics. It can also be gathered that the Demon is sadistic and likes to hurt others. The Demon can usually be found listening to the song Tip Toe Through The Tulips on a phonograph.