At the McKinley Speedway racetrack, a group of friends are seated in Section 180, watching a race. Nick O’Bannon, one of the young men in the group, has a premonition in which a car crash kills the majority of the spectators in Section 180. Nick panics, and tries to leave. The resulting scuffle leads to several individuals leaving the race track, confronting Nick outside for his outburst. The group consists of Nick, the main character who saw the accident occur before it happened; Lori, Nick’s girlfriend; Hunt, a young man with a carefree and arrogant attitude; Janet, a skeptical girl who loves shopping; George, the security guard on duty; Carson, a racist redneck; Samantha, a mother of two young boys; Andy, a mechanic; and Naomi, Andy’s wife. Just as the confrontation comes to a boiling point, the crash occurs, and Naomi is torn in half by a tire.
At a local cafe, Nick, Hunt, Lori, and Janet are gathered, still in shock from what occurred. A news report informs them that the death toll currently stands at 52, and a memorial will be held the next night for the deceased. Nick and Lori decide to go pay their respects. When they arrive, the other survivors thank Nick for saving their lives. Carson, the racist man, blames George the security guard for his wife's death - Carson had told his wife to stay in the stands as he left the racetrack, and George did not allow him re-entry. Carson threatens George.
That night, Nick has another premonition in the form of a vague nightmare. Carson, driving a tow truck under the influence of alcohol. He arrives at George's house and starts digging a hole in his yard so that he may plant a flaming cross. However, a horseshoe hanging from his rear view mirror hits his radio, activating it. When Carson runs over to investigate, the truck begins to drive, as he had left the keys in the ignition. The tow truck's hook catches onto Carson's leg, and drags him down the street. Sparks from the metal hook ignite a gasoline spill, lighting him on fire. George opens his door to investigate the commotion, and the resultant explosion causes Carson's head to land near George's feet.
The next morning, Lori and Janet are watching TV, and are shocked to see Carson has been killed. Nick realizes that the door to George's house was an element of his nightmare, and that it may have been another premonition.
Samantha, the mother, is getting her hair done at a salon. After a series of near misses, involving a falling ceiling fan that misses her, a barber chair, and exploding aerosol cans that slip in between the active contacts of a hair straightener, a riding lawn mower outside kicks a rock at high speed through the doorway of the salon and into Samantha's eye socket, killing her.
Nick and Lori call Hunt and Janet over, saying that they looked up premonitions and visions on the internet, and they believe that death is coming for them in the order that they were meant to die in the accident. Janet does not believe it, and storms out of the room. Hunt says that if he's going to die, he's going to go out having fun, and leaves. Nick does not know who is next on death's list, so Lori and Nick go to the racetrack at night to try and remember. They are caught by George, the surviving security guard, who accepts their story as plausible and escorts them to the security office to review security footage of the crash. Nick then is able to recall the order using the footage - remaining are Andy, Janet and Hunt (who died simultaneously in the premonition), George, Lori and then Nick himself.
George, Lori, and Nick attempt to confront Andy at his workplace, a customs garage. Andy speaks with them outside, and has trouble believing the concept of death's list to be true. He is almost crushed by a runaway van, but instead is hit by a flying gas canister, which sends him into a chain link fence. His body is sliced into large chunks in the shape of the gaps of the fence.
The survivors panic, as Nick cannot determine whether Hunt or Janet is next on the list. They cannot get in touch with either of them, and decide to separate. Nick goes to find Hunt at the local pool, and Lori takes George to search for Janet.
Janet is going to a car wash, and her car becomes trapped inside the enclosure. The sunroof opens, and a burst pipe begins to flood her vehicle. Unable to escape through the doors or windows, she tries to leave through the sunroof, but her head becomes trapped as it closes. The car wash starts moving again, and Janet's head comes dangerously close towards a spinning brush. However, George and Lori intervene by driving into the car wash from the other side, forcing Janet's car free. Janet survives.
Meanwhile, at the pool, Hunt's lucky coin is sent flying into the pool by a rogue golf ball from the nearby country club. Hunt goes to retrieve it, but a newly uncovered drain sucks him down on top of it. The suction traps Hunt, and the pressure begins to skyrocket to more then 240 PSI, disemboweling him and sending his blood and organs flying out from the pump enclosure. Nick witnesses this occur, as he was too late to intervene.
The survivors hypothesize that since Janet was saved by Lori and George's intervention, that Janet is now safe, but George is next. George states that he is ready to die, as his family is waiting for him in the afterlife. This distresses Lori and Nick, as they do not want George's death to occur, which would place them next in line. However, a spill on newspaper produces the message "THROUGH ACTION THEY WERE SAVED". This leads Nick and Lori to believe that the chain has been broken, and death's list to be defeated. They decide to inform George.
At George's house, they discover him in the process of hanging himself. However, the rope breaks. George says that he's been attempting suicide all night, but has been unsuccessful. They conclude that they have defeated death, and are therefore unable to die as it is not yet their time. George, Nick, and Lori celebrate with apple cider and cookies.
Two weeks later, Nick and Lori are planning a trip to Amsterdam. Nick sees on the news that a cowboy from the racetrack has recently woken up from a coma, alive. Nick realizes the cowboy was a man in his premonition, who was supposed to have died before George. Nick panics and has another premonition. He contacts George, as if the cowboy dies, this would mean George would once more be next in line. Lori and Janet are at a shopping mall, going to see a movie together, and Nick is unable to reach them. At the hospital, the cowboy is crushed by a tub that crashes through the ceiling from a flooded room above his own. George is then killed by a speeding ambulance outside the hospital.
Nick realizes Lori is now next on the list, and has another premonition. He races to the mall. The movie theater in the mall is currently undergoing remodeling, and a large amount of explosive materials and metal are being stored in the theater adjacent to the one Lori and Janet are in. Nick reaches the mall, where Lori is having bad feelings of her own, seeing signs of a potential disaster. Nick reaches the theater before it is about to explode, and Lori goes to meet him. Janet is livid, and insists on staying where she is, but the theater explodes, killing her. Nick and Lori run, attempting to escape down an escalator as the mall begins to fall apart around them. The escalator collapses, and Lori is sucked into the gears and chains below, torn to shreds. Nick then wakes up, just like at the beginning of the film where he had the premonition of the race track disaster - the entirety of the mall incident was another premonition. He is standing outside the hospital, and George is killed by the ambulance. Nick runs again to the mall.
At the mall, Nick goes to the construction area and attempts to extinguish the fire. A nail gun pins him to the wall, injuring his arm, but Nick is still successful in stopping the mall disaster from occurring.
Later on, Janet, Lori and Nick are sitting enjoying coffee at the same cafe as before. They are confident that they've finally broken the chain, and are enjoying their drinks, but Nick realizes that this may have been part of death's design all along, due to elements of an earlier premonition he had forgotten, including a warning carved on the table. A truck then speeds through the wall of the cafe, killing them all.
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