Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy investment banker, is estranged from both his ex-wife and his younger brother, Conrad. He is haunted from having seen his father commit suicide on the latter’s 48th birthday. For Nicholas’s own 48th birthday, Conrad presents Nicholas with an unusual gift—a voucher for a “Game” offered by a company called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). Conrad promises that it will change his life.
Nicholas has doubts about CRS, but he meets fellow bankers who enjoyed the Game. He goes to CRS’s offices to apply and is irritated by the lengthy and time-consuming series of psychological and physical examinations required. He is later informed that his application has been rejected. Soon Nicholas begins to believe that his business, reputation, finances, and safety are at risk. He encounters a waitress, Christine, who appears to have been endangered by the Game. Nicholas contacts the police, but they find the CRS offices abandoned.
Eventually, Conrad appears at Nicholas’s house and apologizes, claiming he has come under attack by CRS. With no one else to turn to, Nicholas finds Christine’s home. He discovers she is a CRS employee and her apartment was fake. Christine says they are being watched. Nicholas attacks a camera, and armed CRS personnel swarm the house and fire upon them. Nicholas and Christine are forced to flee. Christine tells him CRS has drained his bank accounts using the psychological tests to guess his passwords. Panicking, Nicholas calls his bank, gives a verification code and is told his balance is zero. Just as he begins to trust Christine, he realizes she has drugged him. As he loses consciousness, she admits she is part of the scam and he made a fatal mistake saying his verification code.
Nicholas wakes entombed alive in a cemetery in Mexico. He sells his gold watch to return to the US where he finds his mansion foreclosed, most of his possessions removed, and is told Conrad has been committed to a mental institution due to a nervous breakdown. He retrieves a hidden gun and seeks the aid of his ex-wife. While talking with her and apologizing for his neglect and mistreatment, he discovers Jim Feingold, the CRS employee who conducted his tests, is an actor working in television advertisements. He locates Feingold and forces him to find CRS’s real office, whereupon he takes Christine hostage. Nicholas demands to be taken to the head of CRS. Attacked by CRS guards, Nicholas takes Christine to the roof and bars the door. The guards begin cutting through the door. Christine realizes Nicholas’s gun is not a prop and is terrified. She frantically tells him it is a part of the Game, his finances are intact, and his family and friends are waiting on the other side of the door. He refuses to believe her. The door bursts open, and Nicholas shoots the first person to emerge—Conrad, bearing an open bottle of champagne. Devastated, Nicholas leaps off the roof, falls through a glass ceiling and miraculously survives as he lands on a giant air cushion. He is greeted by Conrad, who is alive, and the rest of the people from the Game. Conrad tells him this is his birthday present. Later, he asks “Christine”, whose real name is actually Claire, out for dinner, but she declines due to having to do another job in Australia. Claire offers instead to have coffee with him in the airport, and the film ends before Nicholas gives her an answer.