The shy, lonely and outcast teenager Andrew Detmer is bullied and has no friends at high-school and lives with his abusive and alcoholic father Richard Detmer and his terminally ill mother Karen. Andrew buys a camera to film his everyday life. His cousin Matt Garetty drives him to school and invites Andrew to go to a party at night. Nearby they find a tunnel and suddenly acquire telekinetic abilities and Andrew becomes the most powerful. But he easily loses his temper and becomes dangerous while Matt tries to control him. When his mother needs a medicine and Andrew does not have enough money to buy it, his darker side overcomes and he becomes a menace.
Andrew is a troubled but creative teen with a keen visual eye and a high-quality HD camera. He is introverted and socially awkward. Along with his friends, Matt and Steve, they make a discovery that leads them all to acquire powerful telekinetic abilities. They're now capable of, well, almost anything. But things take a dark turn.
Andrew is a high school student who chronicles his life on HD film. For him, filming is an outlet for his introversion and instability. Oppressed and bullied both at school by thugs and at home by a drunken, ignorant father, his concerns are more for his mother, who is dying of an incurable illness. Following a bullying at school, he meets new friends; Matt and Steve who bring him out of himself when they discover an alien source that imparts super powers upon them. But the powers more than test the integrity of their characters as they begin to disagree with each other and become more and more irresponsible in their activities. For Andrew however, the draw is to a much more darker side. One that will lead to a more harrowing and decisive destiny.
Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.
- The movie opens with Seattle high-school teenager Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) videotaping his life with an old camera he recently bought. As he gets ready for school in his room, his drunk alcoholic father Richard (Michael Kelly) beats on his door, demanding he open it. But Andrew refuses due to his current drunken state, finally causing him to give up and storm off. At home, his mother (Bo Petersen) is slowly dying from cancer.
Andrew's cousin Matt (Alex Russell) drives him to school, as Andrew has neither a license or a car. Matt questions Andrew's filming, but awkwardly accepts it when Andrew claims it's just something he does now. Although Matt is the closest thing to a friend Andrew has, he still avoids him at school when he has Andrew go in first while he sits and waits in his car before he goes in himself. Andrew is revealed to be unpopular and is constantly bullied and harassed, particularly by a student named Wayne (Rudi Malcolm).
On the way home, Matt invites Andrew to a party going on that night that Matt plans on attending. Andrew is reluctant, but Matt insists, as this is Andrew's last chance to actually do something for once, as he is already a senior. Andrew says he'll consider it. To that, Matt suggests that Andrew should maybe leave the camera behind as it may alienate people away from him, but Andrew insists its important purpose.
That night in Andrew's room, a drunk Richard bursts in and throws Andrew off his desk chair, instructing Andrew to open his bedroom door when he says so. With that done, Andrew decides to accept Matt's offer to join him at the party that night.
At the party, Matt insists that he stray away from him and go socialize with people. Andrew's filming grabs the attention of Casey (Ashley Hinshaw), who is also filming the party. Matt shows up and it is revealed that Matt has a crush on her as he attempts to make a move on her, completely failing. However, as the party goes on, Andrew's filming gets the negative attention of a drunken attendee who thinks he's filming under wrong circumstances and Andrew leaves the rave, despondent. Approached outside by Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan), the school's popular star quarterback and future politician, Andrew is persuaded to join him and Matt and record something strange the pair of them have found in the woods nearby: a hole in the ground that emits a loud and strange noise. The three enter the hole and discover a large, blue, glowing, crystalline object. As Andrew films, the object turns red and the group is stricken by nosebleeds and pain. The camera cuts out. Weeks later Andrew records himself with a brand new camera, Matt, and Steve as they display telekinetic abilities; able to move objects with their minds, but suffering nosebleeds when they overexert themselves. They return to the hole, but find that it has collapsed and that the sheriff's department are sealing off the area for safety.
As he drives with Steve in his car, the two bond. Steve also questions Andrew's filming habits, believing it sets up a barrier surrounding Andrew. Andrew thinks he probably wants that. Andrew opens up to Steve about his unhealthy home life with his sick mom and drunk dad. Later that night in Andrew's room, we hear Richard loudly arguing with someone over the phone, revealing that he is financially struggling to keep his mother healthy.
As their abilities continue to grow more powerful, Matt theorizes that their abilities function like a muscle, becoming stronger with use. The three boys develop a close friendship and begin employing their abilities to play pranks, such as scaring children by levitating toys at them at a market and moving cars around in a parking lot, confusing people when they return. However, things go too far when Andrew levitates a rude trucker off the road and into a river. Although Steve saves the man from the river and Matt calls the authorities to take the man into medical care, they are shocked and outraged that Andrew would carelessly go that far. Andrew doesn't understand their anger; Matt reminds him that he hospitalized a person. As a result, Matt establishes three rules: they never use their powers against living things, they never use them out of rage or anger, and they probably should no longer use them in public. Despite Andrew's objections, he is overruled when Matt insists it's what they need now that they're growing stronger and Steve agreeing to this.
The next day, Steve messages Andrew and Matt to meet with him. On the way, Matt clarifies that while he isn't mad at Andrew, he still thinks that they need to start thinking before they do anything now that they're getting stronger. Though they meet where Steve told, he is not immediately found, until Steve reveals himself to them floating in the sky, having learned how to fly. Though Matt has a harder time keeping up, Andrew is the first to immediately get it right. They go for a flight to throw a football, but a passing plane knocks Steve down and Andrew saves his life from a fatal fall. They agree to fly around the world together after graduation, with Andrew expressing an interest in visiting Tibet because of its peaceful nature. Steve and Matt agree to this.
Matt goes to Casey's house and attempts to make a move on her by claiming he's not the smug nerd he used to be. Meanwhile, Steve and Andrew are sitting ontop of the seattle needle, talking about their potential futures, and how Andrew's relationship with Matt was different before high school; being close friends before Matt started avoiding him. Steve encourages Andrew to enter the school talent show to gain popularity. Before he goes, his mother shows her admiration of his friends, but his drunken father is suspicious of how Andrew is getting to school without Matt giving him rides. Believing he's up to something, he tells Andrew he's onto him. At the talent show, Andrew amazes his fellow students by disguising his powers as an impressive display of magic tricks, juggling, and tightrope walking. That night, Andrew, Matt and Steve celebrate at a house party, where Andrew is the center of attention. After drinking with his classmate Monica (Anna Wood), Andrew and her go upstairs to have sex. Casey is at the party as well, and they hit it off as Casey invites Matt to go elsewhere with her. Meanwhile, Steve goes up to congradulate Andrew for his success, but he hears Monica scream in disgust as she bursts out of the room with vomit all over her. He goes in the room to find Andrew sitting in humiliation. Steve tries to console him that stuff like this happens and it's nothing to worry about, but Andrew angrily forces him out of the room.
Andrew becomes increasingly withdrawn and hostile. His father eventually discovers Andrew's camera, and berates him for keeping such an expensive item to himself while he financially struggles. He also falsely accuses Andrew for wasting all his money and claiming Matt and Steve are not his friends, calling him an embarassment. Andrew rebuttles back, calling him an idiot. This further enrages Richard into physically attacking him, and Andrew uses his ability to overpower him, throwing him against a wall, claiming that he can crush him if he wanted to and throws the defeated Richard to the ground. His outburst inflicts nosebleeds and pain on Steve and Matt. Matt ignores the nosebleed to have sex with Casey, but Steve is drawn to Andrew, who is floating in the middle of a storm. Andrew asks how he found him, and explains how the nosebleed drew him to him. He notices Andrew's black eye, and realizes his father did it to him. An emotionally distressed Andrew tells him to stop acting like he cares about Andrew's situation, believing Steve was never his friend from the beginning. Steve reminds him that he's always been there with him and Matt, but Andrew grows increasingly frustrated, constantly telling Steve to leave him alone until Steve is suddenly struck by lightning and killed. At Steve's funeral, Matt confronts Andrew about the suspicious circumstances of Steve's death: although Steve was killed by lightning, there were no lightning strikes reported on the news and his body was found in a field, but there's no reason for Steve to be out there. He is also disgusted that Andrew is filming at a funeral, and demands he shuts off the camera, but Andrew refuses, telling Matt to back off. He denies knowledge or responsibility, but Matt doesn't believe him. Later, it is proven that Matt was right when Andrew privately begs forgiveness at Steve's grave, believing that his abilities are taking over him and he misses him.
Andrew grows distant from Matt and again finds himself alone and unpopular at school. After being bullied by Wayne again, he uses his power to tear several teeth from Wayne's mouth. Andrew begins to identify himself as an apex predator, rationalizing that he should not feel guilt for using his power to hurt those weaker than himself. When his mother's condition deteriorates, Andrew goes to pick up his mother's medicine. Before he goes, Matt shows up in Andrew's room, confronting him for the incident at school with Wayne. Annoyed, Andrew tries to brush him off, but Matt gets aggressive and reminds him about the rules. Andrew, finally having enough of Matt, aggressively assures him he's not breaking the rules and tells him to stay out of his life. At the pharmacy, Andrew finds out his mother's medication is too expensive. He then uses his powers to steal money for her medicine. After mugging some local thugs, he robs a gas station where he inadvertently causes an explosion that puts him in the hospital and under police investigation. At his bedside, his upset father informs the unconscious Andrew that his mother has died, and he angrily blames Andrew for her death, accusing him of forcing him out of the house to go looking for him when his mother needed him. Believing that Andrew can hear what he's telling him, he demands Andrew to stand up and apologize to him for taking him away from her in her final time of need, Andrew awakens, grabs his father's hand and blows out the outer wall of the hospital room.
Matt, while attending a family birthday party with Casey, suddenly experiences a nosebleed and senses Andrew is in trouble. He sees a television news report about the explosion at the hospital and knows it involved Andrew. Matt and Casey travel to the hospital and finds Andrew floating outside the building, dangling his father over the ground by his ankle. Blaming his father for driving him to his insane state, Andrew drops his father, only to be saved by Matt. Andrew proceeds to wreak havoc with his powers, picking up Matt's car and nearly killing Casey before Matt saves her life. Matt confronts Andrew at the Space Needle and tries to reason with him, telling Andrew that it's not too late to turn everything around and they can start over. Andrew contradicts this and berates Matt for abandoning him when he needed him. Matt admits to his flaws, but is willing to make this up to him if Andrew stops his attacks. He tries to remind Andrew that this isn't the person he is, but Andrew declares himself an apex predator, attacking Matt and the pair fight across the city, crashing through buildings and hurling vehicles, as Matt continues to try to reason with Andrew, who injured and enraged. He begins using his power to destroy the buildings around him, threatening many other lives. Unable to get through to Andrew, Matt tears a spear from a nearby statue and impales Andrew, killing him. The police surround Matt, but he flies away.
Some time later, Matt lands in Tibet with Andrews camera. Speaking to the camera while addressing Andrew, apologizing for killing Andrew but he had no other choice. He tells his cousin that he loves him, and he now vows to use his powers for good and to find out what happened to them in the hole. Matt positions the camera to view a Tibetan monastery in the distance and says "You made it." Before flying away, he says goodbye to "Andrew," leaving the camera behind to continue recording the tranquil scene.