The movie starts out with a definition and some statistics on Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). Then it fades into the opening scene, which is Jonathan (Michael Keaton), his wife Anna and his son, Mikey (from a previous marriage) in the kitchen having breakfast. The boom box radio on the counter is making some static noise. Otherwise, nothing critically important really happens in this opening scene. They get a phone call from Jonathan's ex-wife saying she can't pick up their son from school, but aside from that, the scene seems designed primarily to show us that they have a happy marriage and family life. We also learn the Anna is a well-known book author, with a new book about to come out, and Jonathan is a successful architect. Additionally, we learn that Anna is pregnant. This scene ends with Anna and Jonathan's son in the car and Jonathan going to work. Both Jonathan and Anna are excited about the pregnancy, but they don't tell the son (or anyone else) about it
Jonathan is at work and is still excited about the pregnancy, but doesn't tell anyone about it. He does, however, tell his secretary to order 3 dozen roses and some chocolates for him to bring to Anna after work. His secretary suspects something is up, but nothing more is discussed about it.
Later, Jonathan arrives home from work with flowers in hand. He has one message on the answering machine. It is Anna saying that she'll be home later than expected because she's going out with a girlfriend who needs to talk. The message cuts her off at the end and we hear static for a couple of brief seconds. Jonathan waits all night for her to come home and starts getting more and more worried. He tries calling Anna's cell and gets her voicemail. We see the time on the clock getting later and later. He tries calling Anna's girlfriend that she's out with and leaves her a voicemail too. It gets to be well past midnight and still no Anna. At one point, Jonathan notices that the clock on the wall has stopped moving entirely. He pulls a stepstool up to reach the clock and just as he touches the clock, the boom box radio suddenly comes on and is on a station that is just static. Jonathan has a puzzled look as he turns off the radio, remembering that he had earlier tuned it to an actual radio station.
The scene ends by fading into a news report on what we presume to be the next morning. Anna's car has been found next to the shore, by some rocks, and there is no sign of her.
The next few scenes are intended merely to show the passage of time and how Jonathan is dealing with Anna not being found yet. He is shown watching home videos of her, giving interviews on the news about her disappearance, etc. One morning, he is leaving for work and there is a man in an SUV parked across the street looking at him. He finds this strange, but goes ahead and drives to work. Later, at work, he happens to look out the window and sees the same man sitting on a bench looking up at his office. He immediately goes outside, crosses the street and confronts the man. The man says his name is Raymond Price, that Anna is dead, and that she has been contacting him. He also tells Jonathan that Anna has been trying to contact him since the moment she died. Jonathan tells Price to stay away from him and heads back to his office. Price follows him and hands him a business card. He explains that he, too, thought this was crazy when someone approached him after his son died. But now he helps others who have lost loved ones. He begs Jonathan to put his business card in a drawer, hide it, or anything but throw it away, and to call him when he's ready.
The next scene is a news report showing that Anna's body has been found and that it's now been 5 weeks since she went missing. She was discovered on the shore by a security guard at a warehouse (or abandoned factory or something) about 3 miles from where her car had been found. Autopsy reports show that she has a head injury and a broken arm. They conclude that she probably slipped on the rocks while trying to repair a flat tire and that's how she sustained the injuries. When the tide came in, it had probably swept her away while she was still unconscious and she drowned. The next scene is her funeral.
The next scene shows that it has now been six months and Jonathan and his son are moving into a new home and starting fresh. One day, he is at a construction site with a client and they get stuck in an elevator. All the sudden, Jonathan's cell phone starts ringing. When he looks at the display, it says the call is coming from "Anna's Cell". He finds this strange and doesn't pick up the call. Later, he is at home asleep and is suddenly awakened by Anna's voice saying, "Jonathan". Then he hears his answering machine beeping in the kitchen. He gets out of bed and listens to the machine. It is Anna's voice saying, "Jonathan". He tries to replay the message, but it has mysteriously been erased. Seconds later, his cell phone rings and it once again displays "Anna's Cell". He opens a drawer and pulls out a ziploc bag the police gave him containing Anna's belongings from the car. One of the items is Anna's cell which is not even working. He answers the call and just hears static for a few seconds, then the line goes dead. At this point, he is starting to believe that maybe Anna is trying to contact him.
The next scene shows Jonathan arriving at the home of Mr Price. Price is very pleased to see him and mentions that he is "just finishing up with someone". Jonathan goes inside the house and a very pretty woman comes out of a room crying. It turns out this woman has been going to Mr Price for several months because her fiance died and he has been trying to contact her. She offers to go make them some tea, while Price and Jonathan sit down in a room where Price has several computers and all kinds of fancy electronic equipment, tapes, etc. He proceeds to explain to Jonathan, the concept of EVP and then asks if Jonathan would like to hear his wife. Jonathan says yes, and they play a recording. What's heard is not very clear, but Jonathan can tell it is Anna. Price explains that it always starts out this way but becomes more clear as time goes on. About this time, the woman, Sarah, comes back into the room with the tea and proceeds to tell her story of why she's there and what she's learned. She explains that her fiance died 8 months ago, and today they finally cracked what he was trying to tell her. The simple message is "Sarah, yes". Evidentally, before he died they made and agreement that if the afterlife was what they'd always believed it was, he would give her a sign. This message satisfied her that everything was okay and she was ready to move on. She also mentions to Jonathan that she runs a bookstore, that she keeps a lot of Price's journals and tapes in storage for him there, and that she was familiar with Anna's books. She tells Jonathan that his wife was great writer.
Jonathan proceeds to come back for repeat visits to Price's house to hear more recordings. Jonathan is also able to see images on a video monitor and one of them kind of looks like Anna. At one point, he hears some very violent-sounding voices and we see a flash of some beings in the background for a split second. This scares Jonathan, but Price explains that not all of the voices are always nice, but that everything is okay.
Later, Jonathan is at home and he gets a call from Price telling him to come over right away. When Jonathan gets to Price's home, he finds Price dead, apparently due to someone breaking into his home.
Jonathan starts attempting EVP on his own, with varying degrees of success. We see several scenes in which he is buying equipment and becoming more and more obsessed.
Jonathan goes to a medium, a young blind woman, hoping that she can help him contact Anna. At first, we are led to believe that the medium is just a scam artist, because the things she's mentioning are either very generic or they don't have any significance to Jonathan. One of things she mentions is Willow Avenue. Jonathan says this doesn't mean anything to him. We then see the image that the blind woman is picking up and we realize she's for real. She is "seeing" a static filled screen with an evil looking face suddenly appearing on it. She tells Jonathan that he should stop meddling with EVP since he doesn't know what he's doing and it can be dangerous. He leaves, thinking she's a fake. Just as he's leaving, she mentions that she know's Anna was pregnant. This briefly gets Jonathan's attention and he stops for a moment because he knows that neither he nor Anna had told anyone. But he ends up deciding to just leave anyway.
We then see several scenes where Jonathan is getting better and better at capturing EVP and listening to it. He ends up writing down a message that seems to be intended for a woman named Susie Tomlinson. The message is "Susie Tomlinson, smile". He looks up Susie Tomlinson and goes to her house. It turns out that Susie's grandmother died two days earlier and she used to always say that phrase (and others like it) to her. Jonathan is confused because he's been getting the messages for longer than two days.
We see Jonathan recording more EVP messages. Some are from Anna and some are from others. Occasionally, we see a very brief glimpse of three silhouettes, which we are led to believe are evil in some way. A voice mentions "Willow Avenue" and Anna's voice tells him to go there "Now". He drives to Willow Avenue, which turns out to be a secluded road in the middle of nowhere. He discovers a car accident where the mother has died, but a baby is still alive. The woman's name is Carole Black. Jonathan and Sarah end up going to the woman's funeral and they pay their respects to her husband. Jonathan approaches the husband and mentions that his wife has been contacting him. The husband becomes irate and tells Jonathan and Sarah to stay away from his family.
A subplot that is happening about this time in the film is a missing woman named Mary Freeman who is believed to have been abducted. Jonathan and Sarah are at Sarah's bookstore going through some of Price's journals and they discover that Edith Tomlinson (Susie Tomlinson's grandmother), Carole Black and Mary Freeman were all clients of Price. Jonathan starts to piece together that Anna is contacting him and showing him things about all these people before they actually die, thus giving Jonathan an opportunity to save them. The fact that these people have also all been clients of Price is never really explained. Jonathan tells Sarah that this must mean that even though he's gotten messages from Mary Freeman, that she must still be alive and that they have a chance to save her.
Jonathan and Sarah go back to Jonathan's house and she falls asleep on his couch. Jonathan is watching, listening to hours and hours of recorded EVP. Suddenly, he wakes up Sarah and tells her to come listen. They are sitting at the monitors and seeing images and also hearing voices. They also briefly see the three silhouettes which have made several appearances up to this point, but remain unexplained (except that they are supposedly some sort of evil entities). Anna's image is appearing through all the static on the monitor along with some lettering that looks like it's part of a sign somewhere. Anna's voice is telling Jonathan to "Go now", but he doesn't know what she means. About this time, Sarah's face appears on the monitor and everything that she and Jonathan are saying is repeated seconds later on the recordings. Sarah is also shown on the monitor saying that she is in pain. They conclude that this means something terrible is going to happen to Sarah.
They go to Sarah's apartment and Jonathan gives her a sleeping pill. She makes him promise that he won't leave. After a while, he leaves the room for a few minutes while Sarah is sound asleep. We see some scary images appear briefly, including the three silhouettes which have made a number of appearances, but still remain unexplained. When Jonathan goes back into Sarah's bedroom, she is standing on the balcony. Before he can get to her, she falls backward and lands on top of an awning several floors below. The next scene is in the hospital and we hear a doctor telling the police that she has a 30% chance of recovery. The police detective questions Jonathan and mentions that he'll be by his house later to take a full statement from him. Jonathan stays by Sarah's bedside until she wakes up. She says she's in pain and he realizes this is the exact scene that they saw played out earlier on the EVP recording of her. He rushes home to view the recordings again.
At home, he's viewing the recordings again and sees himself standing in the same place where Anna's body was found (by all the warehouses and stuff). He also sees an image of Mary Freeman tied up and crying. He goes there and sees a "keep out" sign. He realizes the lettering he'd seen on an earlier recording was from this sign. He looks up and sees a light on in an upper floor. Meanwhile, the police detective from the hospital arrives at Jonathan's house and sees the video recording of Mary Freeman crying. He also starts looking through Jonathan's journals where he's jotted down some of the phrases he's heard the voices say (some of which contain some very violent language). We're left to assume the detective now suspects Jonathan as having something to do with Mary Freeman's abduction.
The scene switches back to Jonathan at the abandon warehouse and he's trying to call the detective on his cell phone. He says where he is, but the reception is very poor, and we can't tell if the detective understood him or not.
Jonathan goes inside the warehouse and it's very creepy inside. He suddenly sees Anna's ghost and she's simply telling him to "Go now". Jonathan goes upstairs and finds a bunch of EVP recording equipment, just like what he has at home (and what Price had). He also finds a table that has what appears to be some items used for torture. He rounds a corner and finds Mary Freeman tied to a chair and gagged. There is a man standing there who is claiming that he did this for "them". He motions to a spot on the wall above and behind Jonathan. Jonathan turns around and he sees the three silhouettes that have been making repeated appearances throughout the film. They appear to be just observing what's going on. We suddenly see a flashback and we realize this man had made an appearance earlier in the film. He had been a maintenance worker at the building where Jonathan and a client had gotten stuck in the elevator. We also learn that this man had abducted Anna as well. The injuries that the autopsy report ruled as being due to her falling on some rocks were actually done by this man. And he is the security guard who had "found" Anna's body. Just as Jonathan is about to save Mary Freeman, some ghosts start attacking him and holding him back from saving her. For a few moments, we don't see what has happened to Jonathan.
Suddenly the security guard ends up getting shot dead. We see that it's the police detective and an army of police. They also end up discovering the dead body of Jonathan who has "fallen" several floors to his death.
The next scene is Jonathan's funeral. Sarah is there, but she is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Jonathan's son (Mikey) is in the car with his mother and stepfather. As they are getting ready to drive away, the car radio starts to freak out and switch from one station to the next. It stops on a station with just static. We hear Jonathan's voice saying, "I'm sorry, Mikey". Jonathan's son smiles and his mother has a concerned look on her face. She turns the radio off and they drive away. Sarah is watching from her wheelchair as they drive off, and in the background, we see some brief weird images that suggest an evil presence. Suddenly, we see a static-filled monitor with Jonathan and Anna's faces on it.
Just before the credits roll, there is a statistic about EVP that states that 1 in 12 EVP messages are overtly violent or threatening in nature.
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