After meeting by chance at a meteor shower, pessimist Dell and insightful Kimberly begin a six-year journey through a relationship that blossoms and fades over time. The film is shown through glimpses of parallel universes and flashbacks that are not chronologically ordered, showing the viewer the progression and depression of their intricate relationship.
Prior to the events of the first film, Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski are chicks in a penguin colony in Antarctica. An egg rolls away from the colony, and the trio rescue it from leopard seals, but are set adrift on an iceberg. The egg hatches, and the trio name their new baby “brother” Private.
After the events of the third film, Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski celebrate Private’s birthday by breaking into Fort Knox, to get Cheesy Dibbles from a vending machine, though what Private really wants is to no longer be considered a “cute face/mascot” but a member of the team. The machine comes to life and kidnaps the penguins. The kidnapper is revealed to be Dave, an octopus who lived in the Central Park Zoo as a star attraction, until the four penguins arrived and stole his popularity with their sheer cuteness. After being passed between zoos and aquariums as an unwanted animal, Dave has disguised himself as a scientist named Dr. Octavius Brine, to enact his revenge. Rico swallows Dave’s snowglobe collection and a vial of serum, and the penguins fight off Dave’s octopus henchmen and escape.
Fleeing through Venice, the penguins are rescued by agents of the North Wind, an inter-species intelligence agency. “Classified”, the wolf leader, informs the penguins that Dave has invented a bioweapon called “Medusa Serum”. Rico regurgitates the serum to show Classified, and his North Wind companions: polar bear Corporal, harp seal demolitionist Short Fuse, and snowy owl intelligence officer Eva, with whom Kowalski falls in love. Dave hacks into the North Wind computers and reveals he has far more of the serum. Penguins then start disappearing from exhibits all over the world; seeing them as “just penguins” and fearing that they will disrupt the investigation, Classified darts them and sends them via plane to a safehouse on Madagascar.
Skipper’s team escapes the plane, making their way to Shanghai. Using clues from Dave’s snowglobes, they deduce the next zoo attacked will be Shanghai Zoo itself. Private, much to his chagrin, is dressed up as bait for Dave while the others lie in wait. The North Wind intervenes, and Private and the rest of the Shanghai penguins are captured; Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski attempt to steal Classified’s jet and accidentally blow it up. The North Wind trace Private to Dave’s lair and travel there by boat, with the three penguins towed behind on a wok without food or water as punishment.
Dave demonstrates his plan to mutate all penguins into monsters, so humans will hate them and try to kill them all. Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski reluctantly agree to act as a diversion while Classified leads his team into Dave’s submarine; however, both the penguins and the North Wind are captured. Dave attempts to zap Private with his Medusa serum ray, but Private escapes. The others believe that Private has been disintegrated. Dave uses the serum on the rest of the penguins, while Private frees the North Wind. Having lost their weapons, they decide to go back to base to regroup, but Private refuses to abandon his brothers and stays behind.
Dave releases the mutated penguins on New York City, inciting a panic. As exterminators try to vacuum up the Penguins with street sweepers, Private steals the ray. He manages to find his brothers and explains his plan – if they replace the Medusa Serum capsule with him, he, as a “source of immeasurable cuteness”, can be used to turn all the penguins normal. After an extended battle with Dave and the other octopus guards, during which the North Wind return and blow up Dave’s submarine, Skipper manages to activate the ray. All penguins are turned back to normal, while Dave is shrunk to a cute baby octopus and trapped in a snowglobe, which a child decides to take home. Private is mutated into a moose/penguin hybrid, but everyone hails him as the hero of the day. Eva and Kowalski kiss, and Classified apologizes for his distrust of the brothers and gifts them four North Wind jet packs.
In a mid-credits scene, the penguins use Mort in the ray to return Private to normal. King Julien is disappointed Mort was not mutated into a monster, until Mort suddenly tries to eat him.
Three years after the events of the first film, Nick, Dale, and Kurt decide to start their own business, selling a car wash-inspired shower head called the “Shower Buddy”. They have trouble finding investors until they are approached by Bert Hanson and his son Rex. Bert agrees to invest if they can make 100,000 units. Taking out a business loan, the trio rent a warehouse, hire employees, and manage to produce their output. However, Bert backs out of their deal at the last minute, claiming that he never signed an agreement, and tells them that he plans to take their inventory in foreclosure and sell them (renamed the “Shower Pal”) himself, while leaving the three in $500,000 debt with their outstanding loan.
Seeking financial advice, Nick, Dale, and Kurt visit Nick’s imprisoned former boss, Dave Harken, who says the three have no feasible legal options to recover their losses. The trio then resolves to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom. They seek the help of “Motherlover” Jones, who says the best way to kidnap someone who knows them is to keep the victim unconscious for the duration of the kidnapping. The three compose a ransom note asking for $500,000 and go to the office of Dale’s former boss, Dr. Julia Harris, to steal a tank of nitrous oxide. While there, Kurt and Dale are almost caught by members from Julia’s sex addiction support group; after they leave, Nick has sex with Julia, providing the distraction that allows Dale and Kurt to escape the building.
The trio goes to Rex’s house, but while they hide in the closet, Dale accidentally turns on the tank and they pass out. When they wake up in the morning, they find Rex gone. Returning to the warehouse, they find Rex tied up in the trunk of their car. Rex gets out and reveals he found them hiding in his closet, but decided to stage his own kidnapping due to his strained relationship with his father and numerous personal debts. Rex sent the ransom note to Bert and increased the ransom to $5 million. The three are uncertain of Rex’s plan, but Rex threatens to go to the police if they back out. They call Bert to inform him of Rex’s kidnapping, threatening to kill Rex if the police are summoned. However, the police, led by Detective Hatcher, subsequently arrive at their warehouse to question Nick, Dale, and Kurt due to their involvement with Bert.
When the police leave, Rex breaks down, knowing Bert cares more about his money than his son. Now sympathetic to Rex, the trio agrees to work with him in the fake kidnapping, and all four devise a plan to outsmart the police and take the ransom money, utilizing untraceable phones, a basement garage to block out any tracking signal, and Kurt disguising himself as Bert. While the plan is in motion, the trio find that Kurt left Bert his own phone instead of the untraceable one. They nevertheless call Bert on Kurt’s phone to give him the instructions. Before they leave, Julia arrives at their hotel room and demands to sleep with Dale or else she will report them for breaking into her office. Dale’s wife Stacy, whom he has three daughters with, arrives and believing Dale is cheating on her with Julia, storms off. Dale angrily locks Julia in the bathroom so the three can leave.
In the basement garage, Nick, Dale, and Kurt demand that Bert give them the $5 million and the cell phone. However, Bert is killed by Rex, who reveals that, after seeing that his father did not care about him, he decided to kill Bert and frame the trio in order to inherit the family business. As the trio are pursued by the police, Jones arrives, having anticipated that they would be killed and was seeking to claim the ransom money for himself. Jones attempts to help them get back to the warehouse so they can prove their innocence. When they arrive, Jones escapes with the money and the police find Rex tied up. Before they arrest the trio, Kurt’s phone rings in Rex’s pocket; the police recognize the ringtone as the same one that was left to Bert by the kidnappers. Rex tries to claim the phone is his, but when Hatcher asks why Rex did not bother to call the police if he had a phone, Rex takes Hatcher hostage. Dale attempts to attack Rex, but Rex shoots him, which distracts him long enough for Hatcher to subdue and arrest him.
A few days later, Dale wakes up in the hospital to find out the three did get in trouble, but because Dale helped save Hatcher’s life, the police dropped the charges. He also finds out Julia helped make amends with Stacy, although she hints at having raped him during his coma and promises to have sex with his wife as well. In the aftermath, their business goes into foreclosure but is subsequently purchased by Harken in prison, who allows the three of them to stay employed. Jones, meanwhile, uses the ransom money to invest in Pinkberry.
After being rescued from the destroyed arena in the 75th Hunger Games, tributes Katniss Everdeen, Beetee, and Finnick Odair are taken to District 13, a below-ground district isolated from Panem that has been spearheading the rebellion. Katniss is reunited with her mother and sister Prim and is introduced to President Alma Coin, the rebel leader. Katniss is told that her arrow destroying the forcefield led to riots in over half the districts, joining District 13 in the rebellion, which caused Snow to bomb District 12 in retaliation. Coin asks her to become the “Mockingjay”—a symbol of the rebellion—as part of a “hearts and minds” strategy. Katniss reluctantly agrees after seeing Peeta being manipulated on state television to quell the rebellion. She visits the ruins of District 12, her old house somehow untouched with white roses from President Snow inside.
Katniss meets her film team and is given Effie Trinket as a stylist and close friend, Gale, as a bodyguard. They go to District 8 where Katniss is filmed being saluted by dozens of wounded civilians at a hospital; Snow, seeing the footage, orders an airstrike at the hospital, killing everyone inside. The crew films Katniss and Gale shooting down two Capitol hovercraft and Katniss’ rage-filled threat: “If we burn, you burn with us.” District 7 revolts, shouting the same phrase and killing Peacekeepers.
Katniss and her team travel to District 12. Katniss is filmed singing “The Hanging Tree.” Millions of protesters in District 5, singing the same anthem, launch a suicidal human wave attack against a hydroelectric dam that is the Capitol’s primary source of electricity. The attack knocks out power, forcing the Capitol to revert to secondary generators. That night, Katniss watches Peeta being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman, the Games’ former presenter, when Coin and Beetee hijack the signal to air a clip of Katniss. After seeing it, Peeta suddenly shouts a warning that the Capitol is about to attack District 13. Coin orders a mass evacuation into deep, underground shelters, and the facility survives the attack. Upon emerging, Katniss discovers the area littered with white roses; she concludes that Snow orchestrated this to inform her that whenever she condemns the Capitol, they’ll torture Peeta in retaliation.
Coin dispatches an elite special-forces team to rescue Peeta and remaining victors Johanna Mason, Enobaria, and Annie Cresta from their prison. Beetee hijacks the Capitol’s defense system with a “propo” narrated by Finnick to convince more districts to side with the rebellion. Gale’s team rescues the victors and escapes the Capitol easily, indicating the Capitol reduced its security on purpose. When Katniss greets Peeta, he unexpectedly attacks and strangles her into unconsciousness before being knocked out by Boggs.
Katniss wakes up and is informed that Peeta has been “hijacked”—brainwashed into trying to kill her, which explains why the Capitol allowed them to escape with him. Peeta is placed in solitary confinement, while a serum is developed to reverse the hijacking effects.
Coin announces that the rebels’ next objective is the Capitol’s principal military stronghold in District 2—now the only district remaining loyal to the Capitol.
In a framing sequence, Cameron—as himself—addresses the audience from beside a fireplace, explaining his love of Christmas. Cameron goes on to express his views on the contemporary celebration of Christmas, which include his beliefs that atheists have tried to “take the holiday away” and that Santa Claus is a Christian. Cameron also criticizes fundamentalist Christians who have politicized the holiday by tying the celebration to Pagan traditions and making accusations that the holiday has become too tied to materialism.
The film switches to its main narrative, in which Cameron attends a Christmas party at his sister’s house. There, he notices that his brother-in-law, Christian, is not celebrating like the other guests. When asked why, Christian tells Cameron that he feels the holiday became too commercialized and consumerist, and that he feels uncomfortable with what he believes are Pagan elements of contemporary Christmas celebration. Cameron tells Christian that he is wrong and recites the story of the Nativity, which is depicted in cartoon form. Meanwhile, two guests at the party discuss conspiracy theories.
Christian complains that several elements of Christmas, most notably Christmas trees, are not biblical in origin. Cameron tells him that Christmas trees were God’s idea, since God created trees. He also says that each tree represents a Christian cross; breaking the fourth wall, Cameron encourages the audience to visualize a cross every time they see a Christmas tree. Cameron further addresses several other concerns Christian has about the historicity of the holiday, including its date and the role of the Three Wise Men. Cameron ties the Nativity directly to the crucifixion, saying that baby Jesus’ swaddling cloth was a foreshadowing of his burial shroud, and claims that the gifts of frankincense and myrrh were used to treat dead bodies in a form of primitive embalming. Cameron encourages Christian and the audience to place nutcracker dolls around Nativity sets to represent Herod’s soldiers during the Massacre of the Innocents.
Christian is convinced by the arguments, but then complains that Santa has co-opted Jesus as the figurehead of the holiday; he further expresses discomfort over the fact that “Santa” is an anagram of “Satan”. Cameron tells Christian the story of Saint Nicholas, including a reenactment of the First Council of Nicaea in which Nicholas violently beats Arius for heresy. Cameron claims that, after the council, Nicholas went out and began beating heretics for teaching false doctrine, and that “Nicholas was ‘bad’, in a good way”. Cameron explains that St. Nicholas was the basis for Santa Claus, who was a byproduct of Nicholas’ story being diluted by secular culture. With this knowledge, Christian joyously declares that “Santa is the man”.
Reassured of Christmas’ Christian roots, Cameron and Christian return to the party. Cameron criticizes people who feel that the holiday is too commercial, saying that because God took on material form, it is appropriate to celebrate using material things through the giving of expensive gifts. Cameron explains that presents represent Jerusalem, and that Christmas is “doing what God does”, as God has given humanity many gifts. Cameron then issues a plea to the audience to make Christmas an overtly religious holiday again, “for our children”. Christian, as a gift to his wife, organizes a hip hop dance to symbolize his love of Christmas, set to “Angels We Have Heard on High”. Cameron, Christian, and all the party guests breakdance in an extended musical sequence. Cameron then tells everyone to feast, and suggests the audience organize the best dinner possible for Christmas, but not to forget it is a celebration of God.
In 1854, Mary Bee Cuddy is a 31-year-old spinster from New York, a former teacher who journeyed to the Midwest for more opportunity. She is an active member of the small farming community of Loup in the Nebraska Territory, and has significant financial prospects and sizable land ownership. She seems strong and independent, but suffers from depression and feels isolated. She makes dinner for her neighbor Bob Giffen, and sings to him, but when she proposes he turns her down saying she is “plain, and too bossy.” He then leaves to find a wife back east.
After a harsh winter, three women from the community begin to show signs of mental instability due to the hardships they have faced. Arabella Sours has lost three children to diphtheria, Theoline Belknap kills her own child after a poor harvest puts her family at risk of starvation, and Gro Svendsen, a Danish immigrant, is shown to be in an abusive relationship with her husband and has a breakdown after her mother dies. Reverend Dowd calls upon one of their husbands to escort the women eastward to a church in Hebron, Iowa, that cares for the mentally ill. Mr. Belknap refuses to participate in the lottery to determine who will escort the women; Cuddy takes his place, and the lot falls on her.
While preparing for her journey, Cuddy encounters George Briggs, a claim jumper, who has been left on horseback with a noose around his neck for stealing Bob Giffen’s land while he is away. Scared to make the trip alone, she frees him, and in return demands his help escorting the women. He immediately casts doubt on the job and insists he be free to abandon her at any time. To persuade him, Cuddy tells him that she is mailing $300 to await his arrival in Iowa, but secretly keeps it with her.
Briggs’s experience comes in handy when the group crosses paths with hostile Pawnee, and he is able to bribe them by giving up one of their horses. Later, when Arabella is kidnapped by a freighter, Briggs gives chase, and the two men have a violent scuffle before Arabella kills her kidnapper. Eventually the caravan comes across the grave of an 11-year-old girl that has been desecrated by Indians, and Cuddy insists they stop and restore it. Briggs vows to push on, so Cuddy stays behind and agrees to catch up with him. After restoring the grave, Cuddy sets out on horseback. However, she loses her way, and after riding all night discovers that she has gone in a circle and her horse has led her back to the grave.
Finally catching up to Briggs after another night of riding, Cuddy, distraught over having to wander the desert, suggests they marry. Briggs, like all the previous men, rejects Cuddy, calling her “plain” and saying he “ain’t no farmer” and is only along for the promised reward. Later that night, a naked Cuddy propositions him, and despite his initial protestations, the two have sex. Rising late the next morning, Briggs finds that Cuddy has hanged herself. Briggs chastises Sours, Belknap and Svendsen, blaming their illness for Cuddy’s death as he buries her body. He discovers that she had kept the $300 with her the entire time, and so takes a horse and abandons the three women. However, the trio follow him on foot, and Arabella almost drowns while chasing him across a river. Briggs saves her and decides to go on to Iowa.
Briggs seeks food and shelter at an empty hotel belonging to Irishman Aloysius Duffy, who informs him that they have no rooms available for the caravan as a group of 16 investors are expected shortly, and the women would sour the establishment. Briggs lashes out at Duffy, whose men pull out guns of their own, resulting in a brief stand-off. Briggs leaves, but returns that night alone on horseback. He sends away the young cook, sets the hotel on fire and shoots Duffy in the foot. Briggs takes a suckling pig to feed himself and the women and leaves all inside the hotel to be burned alive.
Briggs reaches Hebron, passing the women into the care of Altha Carter, the wife of the church’s reverend. He informs her of Cuddy’s death but does not disclose the true cause. Guilty about having rejected Mary Bee’s proposal, he has a wooden slab engraved with her name and plans to mark her grave with it. He discovers that his $300 is worthless, as the Bank of Loup has failed since they left. He gives a pair of shoes to Tabitha Hutchinson, a hard-working young maid at the hotel he is staying at, and then proposes to her, after advising her not to marry some young man going west, but to stay in town. She replies, “Maybe.” He then boards the open-decked river ferry heading back west, where he sings a rowdy song with two musicians on deck. Briggs fires his pistol and shouts at people on the pier who complain about the noise. Eventually, one of the bargemen kicks Mary Bee’s grave marker off the edge of the deck into the river, and unnoticed by Briggs, it slips underwater.
In 1987, Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz speaks at an elementary school in place of his older brother, Dave. Both are Olympic gold medal winners in 1984, but Mark feels overshadowed by Dave. Mark is contacted by philanthropist and wrestling enthusiast John E. du Pont, an heir to the E.I. du Pont family fortune, who arranges to fly Mark to his estate in Pennsylvania where du Pont has built a private wrestling training facility. Du Pont invites Mark to join his wrestling team, Team Foxcatcher, to be paid to train for the World Championship. Mark accepts the offer, with du Pont urging him to enlist Dave as well. Dave declines for the sake of his wife and two children, who are settled where they live, so Mark moves to Pennsylvania alone.
Mark stays in a homey guest house (“The Chalet”) and is greeted there later in the night by du Pont. Through training with his new teammates and du Pont’s financial support, Mark excels with Foxcatcher, winning a Gold Medal at the 1987 World Wrestling Championships. Du Pont praises him, and they develop a friendship. Du Pont introduces Mark to cocaine, which he starts to use regularly. He confides in Mark, whom he now calls a true friend, telling him how his mother, Jean du Pont, paid a boy to act as his friend. John organizes and funds an over-50 masters wrestling tournament, which he wins after his opponent is paid to lose the final match. However, Jean tells her son that she believes wrestling is a “low sport” and does not like seeing him “being low”. One day, Mark and his teammates in Foxcatcher take the morning off from training to watch mixed martial arts (MMA) on TV. Angered by this (as well as Mark’s bitter refusal to be in his brother’s presence in Team Foxcatcher), John slaps Mark and berates him, saying that he will enlist Dave by any means necessary while also demanding that Mark work out his differences with his brother as soon as possible.
Dave decides to move with his family to Pennsylvania so he can join Foxcatcher.[N 4] His self-esteem damaged by du Pont, Mark decides to work and train alone, pushing away both John and Dave. As Team Foxcatcher prepares to enter the preliminaries for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, John’s mother is escorted into his gym to watch him coach his team. He awkwardly demonstrates basic maneuvers for her and the other wrestlers. Jean leaves in disgust after seeing him give his back to his student.
At the 1988 Olympic Trials in Pensacola, Florida, Mark performs poorly, losing his first match. Angered by his failure, Mark destroys his room and goes on an eating binge, before Dave manages to break into his room and is alarmed at his brother’s condition. They work feverishly so Mark can make his weight class. As Mark exercises, John arrives and attempts to speak with him, but Dave turns him away. Mark competes well enough to win his match and make the Olympic team. Dave notices that du Pont is absent, learning that he left for Pennsylvania after being told his mother died.After returning to the estate, Mark tells Dave that “you and I both know that I can’t stay” at Foxcatcher once the Olympics are over and asks Dave to leave with him. A documentary funded by John about his exploits with Team Foxcatcher is made, during which Dave is asked to praise him as coach and mentor; he reluctantly does so. Mark loses his matches in Seoul, after which he leaves Team Foxcatcher. While Dave continues to live at John’s estate and train with Foxcatcher, as a condition for his remaining, he negotiates an arrangement with du Pont to continue to support Mark financially.
Later, John is seen sitting alone in his mansion’s trophy room watching the documentary about Team Foxcatcher, which ends with Mark complimenting him at a ceremony depicted earlier. John calls his bodyguard and drives to Dave’s home, where he finds him in the driveway working on his car radio. As Dave approaches John’s car to greet him, John pulls a gun on him and asks him if he has a problem with him before shooting him three times and driving away. Dave’s wife, Nancy runs out to her husband, who dies in her arms. Setting a trap for John at his home, the police ambush and arrest him, and the film ends showing Mark as he competes in a cage fighting match with the crowd’s cheers ringing in his head.
Twenty years after the first film, Lloyd Christmas all this time has been committed at Baldy View Sanitarium, a mental institution, ever since he discovered Mary Swanson was already married. During a recent visit, his best friend Harry Dunne discovers that Lloyd pranked him into thinking he was traumatized the entire time. They head to their apartment, where Harry reveals he needs a kidney transplant.
They go to Harry’s old home, but Harry cannot get a kidney from his parents because he was adopted as a baby. Harry’s dad gives him his mail that has been piling up since he moved out. It includes a postcard from his ex-girlfriend, Fraida Felcher, from 1991, stating that she is pregnant and needs Harry to call. Fraida admits that she had a daughter named Fanny that she gave up for adoption. She wrote Fanny a letter, only for it to be returned and instructed to never contact her again.
Hoping she can provide a kidney, Lloyd and Harry drive a hearse that Fraida gave them to Oxford, Maryland, where she now lives. Dr. Bernard Pinchelow and his wife Adele are Fanny’s adoptive parents. Fanny, who has taken the name Penny, is going to a KEN Convention in El Paso, Texas to give a speech on her father’s life work. Penny is given a package to be given to one of the convention heads but, being dim-witted herself, ends up forgetting the package and her phone.
Adele is secretly trying to poison Bernard to have his fortune, with the help of her secret lover, family housekeeper Travis Lippincott. Harry and Lloyd arrive to inform the Pinchelows of their situation. Bernard realizes Penny forgot the package, which he says contains an invention worth billions. Adele suggests that Harry and Lloyd deliver the package to Penny. So that he and Adele can get the box, Travis accompanies Harry and Lloyd. After a near death-causing prank, Travis attempts to kill them but dies in a train collision. Adele hears of the death from Travis’s twin brother Captain Lippincott, a former military man who agrees to help her kill Harry and Lloyd.
When the duo arrives in El Paso, Harry impersonates Bernard, so he and Lloyd are invited to a seminar. They get into an argument when Harry discovers that Lloyd has developed a romantic attraction to Penny. After being escorted out of the convention due to not being on the attendance list, Lloyd gets a call from Penny. After informing Penny that he is in town with her dad, they arrange a meeting at a restaurant during which Lloyd deduces that he, not Harry, is Penny’s father.
Adele arrives at the convention with Lippincott and exposes Harry as a fraud, telling the convention heads that he stole the package. Fraida also arrives and triggers the fire alarm to create a diversion after she and Penny are denied entry. As the building is evacuated, Harry runs into Fraida and Penny, only to have Lippincott and Adele corner them with guns in a bathroom. At this moment, Lloyd returns, having been to Mexico to have one of his own kidneys removed for Harry. Lippincott and Adele are about to shoot, but three FBI agents who were with Penny bust in with a cured Bernard, who reveals that he knew that Adele was trying to poison him. It is revealed that it was Adele, not Penny, who wrote “do not contact again” on Fraida’s letter, and that the “invention” was just cupcakes. Angered by the fact that her plans got ruined, Adele attempts to shoot Penny, but Harry takes the bullet and is severely injured. Adele (who gets beaten up by Fraida for writing “do not contact again”) and Lippincott are arrested.
Harry is rushed to the hospital where he reveals that he was pranking Lloyd about needing a kidney while they both laugh. Fraida reveals that Penny’s biological father is Harry and Lloyd’s deceased high school friend, Peter “Pee-Stain” Stainer. As the duo leave El Paso, they spot two women walking in their direction and shove them into a bush as a joke. Harry and Lloyd run off and high-five each other.
In a post-credit scene, Lloyd and Harry are driving home in a Zamboni and toss their milkshakes into a truck belonging to Sea Bass, a minor antagonist from the first film. He and his friend recognize the duo and try to ram them, opening the possibility for another sequel.
In 1998 in London, a young Noni Jean is taken by her mother Macy to a salon to get her hair done before her performance at a talent contest. Noni is happy to win second place for her performance of Nina Simone’s “Blackbird”, but her mother refuses to accept anything but first place and forces Noni to smash her trophy on the ground. In the present, Noni Jean is a hot new artist who has just won a Billboard Music Award for her collaboration with her boyfriend Kid Culprit and is primed for superstardom. However, the pressures of success cause her to nearly end her life by falling off a hotel balcony. She is saved by a young police officer, Kaz Nicol. Noni’s team, including her mother, tells the media in a press conference that she fell by accident. Kaz, who has political ambitions, is not happy to be forced to lie to the media, and is initially cold to Noni. However, he later apologizes to her. Gradually, they connect and begin to fall in love, despite her mother’s disapproval. Noni tells Kaz about the songs she has secretly written, and he is supportive of her creative ambitions. Noni decides to end the romantic relationship with Kid Culprit that her team has encouraged.
In spite of her team’s attempt to cover it up, rumors persist that Noni attempted suicide and her label tells Macy that her record contract is conditional on a successful upcoming performance. However, during the performance, Kid Culprit suddenly humiliates her and lies about their relationship, and Kaz punches him on stage in defense of Noni. Following this, Noni loses her record contract and is at a low point emotionally, so Kaz takes her on a trip to Mexico away from the spotlight where they enjoy each other’s company. Noni gets rid of her old hairstyle in favor of her natural hair, and a trip to a local karaoke bar leads to Noni giving an emotional performance of “Blackbird.” The performance is uploaded to the internet and goes viral, causing Noni’s mother and the paparazzi to find her. Macy tells Noni that the viral success of her performance has caused her record label to reconsider, and Noni agrees to return home. Kaz tells Noni he is not convinced that anything will be different than it was before, and their relationship is put on pause.
When Noni wants to add a song she has written to her upcoming album, Macy tells her that it can’t be done. The two fight about their relationship and Noni tells her mother that even after her suicide attempt, Macy continued to focus only on her career to the detriment of her happiness and mental health. Noni fires Macy as her manager. Meanwhile, Kaz has begun a political campaign and reflects on whether his career should take precedence over his personal happiness. Inspired by Kaz’s honesty, Noni gives a television interview where she admits to having attempted suicide and says she is getting help. Noni prepares for her first live performance in London, and shortly before going onstage suddenly encounters Kaz, who has taken a flight there and expresses his love for her. Noni performs a song she has written to an enthusiastic audience. She brings Kaz onstage, tells him that she loves him too, and they embrace.
In the wake of his parents’ deaths and about to sell their summer home, Daniel has one final weekend with his friends, reality TV star James, recently unemployed Tom, Martin and his wife Abby, Charley, and Daniel’s ex-girlfriend Olivia and her fiancé Henry.
The pregnant Jessabelle “Jessie” Laurent (Sarah Snook) is about to move to her fiancé, Mark’s (Brian Hallisay) house when their car is hit by a truck just when they are backing up their car from the driveway, killing Mark and causing Jessie’s miscarriage. Two months afterward, Jessie, who now uses a wheelchair, moves in with her estranged father, Leon (David Andrews) in St. Francisville, Louisiana. She resides in her mother’s former bedroom. Her mother, Kate, died due to a brain tumor shortly after she was born, with Leon subsequently leaving her to be raised by her aunt.
One day, Jessie finds a box containing four videotapes shot by Kate (Joelle Carter). Addressing Jessie by her full name, she congratulates her on her 18th birthday and gives a tarot reading about Death that tells of a transition, taught to her by a friend whom she met at a local church. Kate warns that an unwanted presence is haunting Jessie, a reading that turns out to be true, as Jessie feels that a gaunt black-haired woman (Amber Stevens) is haunting her ever since she moved back in to her father’s house. Jessie also has a vivid dream where she is strapped to a bed by her mother and witnesses a voodoo ritual being conducted, where blood flowing into a breathing machine chokes her. Leon repeatedly tries to dissuade Jessie from watching the tapes by breaking the first one and throwing Jessie’s wheelchair into the bayou.
One day, Jessie has frightening encounter in the bathtub with the same woman during a physical therapy session. After lifting Jessie onto Kate’s old wheelchair, Leon coerces her physical therapist into leaving the house. After telling Jessie that the Kate in the tapes is not her mother due to the tumors she had, Leon attempts to burn all of the tapes, but a supernatural force burns him alive inside the yard shed.
During Leon’s funeral, Jessie reunites with her high school friend, Preston Sanders (Mark Webber), but collapses after she sees a severely burned man (Vaughan Wilson). After Preston leaves from tending to Jessie, she watches the third tape, which was focused on Leon and Kate in an outing and their Christmas party with the announcement of the latter’s pregnancy, and the fourth tape, in which it focused on the foretold tarot readings and Kate tearfully shouting “You’re dead!” before the footage cut off. After watching the tape, Jessie notices the woman behind her in the mirror. The mirror then shatters, and Jessie discovers a small secret compartment holding a tape (that wasn’t found in the box) with no label on it that she opts not to watch. The next day, Jessie and Preston head across a nearby bayou, which Jessie has been suspicious of since observing glittering light and flames appearing there. The two discover voodoo icons and effects, as well as a grave of “Jessabelle” with a baby’s skeleton, dated on Jessie’s birthday, which they turn over to Sheriff Pruitt (Chris Ellis) for DNA testing. Jessie and Preston then visit the house of Mrs. Davis (Fran Bennett), the mother of one of their friends and the Laurents’ former family cook, who speaks about Moses Harper, Kate’s aforementioned friend from her church mentioned in the second tape. Thinking that Moses may be involved in the supernatural occurrences, the two head to Moses’ voodoo shrine in a ruined church, but are attacked by a group of men who force them to leave.
The two return to Jessie’s home where Preston confesses that, despite being married, he is in love with Jessie. Preston offers to let Jessie live with his mother, which she accepts. Just before Jessie can finish her packing; Preston is attacked by the ghostly woman and knocked unconscious.
Now left alone, Jessie conducts a ritual to summon the woman. After the ritual, Jessie is called by Pruitt, who informs her that the baby was Kate’s daughter, but not Leon’s. She plays the blank tape where it presents Kate casting a voodoo enchantment on a newborn white girl and committing suicide by gunshot, not before tearfully shouting that Jessabelle and her father Moses are dead, attempting to suffocate the infant girl with a pillow, and changing her mind to conduct the incantation. Jessie is confronted by Kate’s spirit and realizes the truth that her “father” was hiding from her: the video tapes filmed were for Jessabelle, who was the daughter of Kate and Moses as the product of an interracial affair at the same church mentioned in the second tape. Jessabelle was killed on the night of her birth, along with her father, by Leon. On that night, Leon scolded Kate for being unfaithful, picked up Jessabelle from her crib and snapped her spine in half. After Kate laments as she holds her daughter’s now-lifeless body, Leon pushed a baby carriage carrying her lifeless body and a porcelain doll inside into the bayou, weighing it down with stones to prevent it from resurfacing. Leon then drove up to Kate and Moses’ church where he shot Moses and set the building ablaze, leaving Moses for dead in the burning church. Jessie realizes that she is the unwanted presence, being the white girl adopted by Leon on that same night to cover up the murders.
Swearing revenge, Kate and Moses planned to transfer Jessabelle’s spirit to Jessie. Jessie is pushed by Kate and Moses’ spirits towards the bayou, where Jessabelle swims up and takes her mother’s bracelet, resurfacing back in the form of Jessie. Preston jumps in to save her and she kisses him and asks him to take her home. When Pruitt asks “Miss Laurent” if she is all right, she replies “It’s Jessabelle”.