Ever since Bradley Criss was in a coma at 14 years old, he has seen dead people in his dreams. He does not know why, and he does not know what they want, but they want something. That he is sure of.
Over the years, he sketches them in a series of journals that are his best kept secret until his wife finds them. Bradley promises that he will destroy them, but he cannot. He knows there is something he must do for them first.
Now more determined to find the answers he seeks, Bradley enlists the help of Tom, a man whom he meets on the internet. Tom claims that he can help people tap into their dreams to create an alternate reality. He calls this experience dream tapping.
Feeling that this is his only chance, Bradley agrees to let Tom manipulate his subconscious and enters the alternate reality that Tom promised him. Soon Bradley realizes that he is not the only one there. In addition to other dream tappers, there is danger lurking in the distance. Shadow people, who are dead but have not moved on to the afterlife, also occupy this reality. They are the same dead that Bradley has seen in his dreams for years.
When several dream tappers come up missing, the shadow people are discovered and become feared. When Meredith, a dream tapper with whom Bradley falls deeply in love, also comes up missing, Bradley is enraged.
Suspecting Tom is up to foul play, Bradley spies on the shadow people and is shocked to find out that Tom, their trusted advisor, is their leader. Not only is he encouraging them to kill the dream tappers, but he is using the shadow people to enact his own revenge on people in the real world. Bradley must then make a choice – either risk his life to save the shadow people or return home and continue to be haunted by them.