After a horrific car accident, Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) wakes up to find the local funeral director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) preparing her body for her funeral. Confused, terrified, and feeling still very much alive, Anna doesn't believe she's dead, despite the funeral director's reassurances that she is merely in transition to the afterlife. Eliot convinces her he has the ability to communicate with the dead and is the only one who can help her. Trapped inside the funeral home, with nobody to turn to except Eliot, Anna is forced to face her deepest fears and accept her own death. But Anna's grief-stricken boyfriend Paul Coleman (Justin Long) still can't shake the nagging suspicion that Eliot isn't what he appears to be. As the funeral nears, Paul gets closer to unlocking the disturbing truth, but it could be too late; Anna may have already begun to cross over to the other side.
However, her boyfriend Paul, who was about to propose to her in a restaurant date which went terribly wrong, as she thought he was leaving her for a promotion in Chicago, starts to have strange feelings that she is trying to communicate with him. He sits and the car wreck which now sits at the police impound. His friend who works at the police station. Anna's mother, Beatrice Taylor (Celia Weston), is a wheelchair-bound lady who, instead of feeling sorry for her daughter, just moans to her dead body about who is going to take care of her (the mother) now.
Paul looks out of control. He tries to see Anna's corpse twice, and it's him who goes to pick up Anna's stuff from the school. There, Jack (Chandler Canterbury), a little boy who was bullied at school but was defended by Anna once against two boys (Jack Rovello & Sam Kressner) older than him, says that he saw Anna standing up wearing a red outfit. At the beginning, Paul punches him and is restrained by school staff, like a security guard and a teacher (Doan Ly). Jack arrives home and the only adult is an old lady (Rosemary Murphy) with white hair always in front of TV who may be also a dead person who Jack can see before having transitioned.
Finally, two days pass by and Anna is prepared to be buried. She has been convinced by Eliot that she is dead and transitioning into the other world. She asks to look at herself for one last time, and he fetches a hand mirror. She breathes, and there is steam. That makes her realise that she is probably alive and is going to be buried alive. She tries to fight him off, but he injects onto her neck something which paralizes her. At the funeral, Paul and Jack feel that Anna has moved a little bit. Paul can't be sure until Eliot tells him that she is probably not alive anymore.
Jack becomes Eliot's apprentice. Paul drives like crazy to save Anna. It's night, and he is driving on the other line at full speed. He has an accident but he is able to unbury Anna and save her. However, there is a blackout and he wakes up naked at the body, and Eliot and Jack are working in his body, preparing him for the funeral, all pretension of him being dead put aside.