Polaroid Sarah and her friend, Linda, are going through the box of her mother’s belongings, when they find a Polaroid camera. Linda gets an “like” from her crush. This prompts Sarah to snap a picture wearing lingerie onto the Polaroid camera. When the flash is activated, Sarah seems uneasy. Her friend goes away, and Sarah is left home on her own. She notices a shadow behind her in the picture. Startled, she treats it as a smudge. She starts cleaning. Then she begins to hear strange sounds coming from her attic. She falls in fear from the attic, but instead of falling down to her feet, she ends up hanging by her ankles. While feeling a brief moment of relief when her hair hangs on her face, she is pulled up by an entity and is killed off-screen before her body tumbles to the ground.
A shy teenager Bird is given an old Polaroid camera by her coworker Tyler, who got the camera from an estate sale. It bears the initials RJS. Bird captures a picture of Tyler however, he observes something odd in the photo. Polaroid HD
Bird attends an event for costumes with Kasey, her best friend. She also gets to meet Mina and Mina’s boyfriend Devin, Avery and Bird’s high school crush Connor. Bird utilizes her Polaroid camera to take the group’s picture and Avery takes an image with the camera. In the meantime, Tyler is killed by the entity, and Sheriff Pembroke informs Bird. Home, Bird sees Tyler’s photo free from the shadow, which is then mysteriously transferred to Avery’s photo.
Avery dies when an entity is able to snap her neck. Bird notices this and tries to take out the camera. Devin attempts to ignite the group photograph however Mina’s arm suddenly ignites when the flames reach her. Kasey’s fingers are a little burned before Bird stomps out the fire and the photo is restored. Mina is taken to the hospital to undergo an operation on her arm. Devin, Kasey and Connor then leave to investigate the camera. While at the antique shop, Bird is attacked by the entity, and it behaves as a photo that follows the same guidelines as photographic development (i.e. It also is sensitive to heat. She is puzzled as to why she was chased and she sees her reflection on the background of the photograph.
Mina is assaulted by an entity and killed in hospital. Devin finds the body of Mina and accuses Bird of her death. Bird and Connor look into the matter and discover that the camera was owned by Roland Joseph Sable (RJS), a former teacher of photography at their school. The teacher was accused of murder and torture of four students as he took maniacal photographs. One of the captives was able to escape and Roland was killed by police. Devin confronts Bird in the restaurant and accuses Bird of being the one responsible. He attempts to take pictures of her in the event of threat. Devin and Connor fight to capture the camera. Devin is accidentally captured by the camera. The shadow is transferred to his photograph, indicating that he is next. Devin is threatening Bird. Kasey saves Bird and then stabs Devin with an eraser. He suffers the same injury in the real world. Devin, upset from being wounded, turns violent and accidentally slaps Sheriff Pembroke. Devin is arrested and later killed in his cell by Roland. Bird was unaware that Roland had attacked Devin and was now threatening to take him to the grave.
Connor, Kasey, and Bird find out that Roland’s wife has passed away and visit her. Lena Sable, an elderly lady, explains to them that the camera belongs to Rebecca Jane Sable (RJS). Lena claims she believes that Rebecca was slow, and she became connected to the camera after she was gifted it. Rebecca was bullied by four of her peers who took the camera and made inappropriate photographs. In shame, she took her own life. Roland, her father took her away and killed her bullies as a show of outrage. Roland still roams the streets, looking for the last bully who will be killed, even though he is dead. Lena shows them a picture of the survivor and they go through the yearbooks. Bird discovers that the person who survived was Sheriff Pembroke. In an effort to stop the evil entity from taking them down, Connor takes a picture of Pembroke and reveals that Roland in truth often sexually assaulted Rebecca and Lena’s account of events was to hide her husband’s evil actions. He was one of Rebecca’s friends who tried to warn her about her father’s actions when he saw her naked pictures. Fearing the public would find out, Roland abducted them, leading Rebecca to commit suicide out of guilt that she had not earned.
Soon after, Roland appears and ambushes the group. Pembroke’s photo is cut in half, and kills him instantly. Roland stabs through Kasey’s leg and impairs her ability to walk. Connor is separated from Kasey and Bird; the girls find shelter in the school’s showers, with Bird switching on the hot water to generate heatand block Roland from getting to them. Bird sets out to find Connor and they reunite. She comes up with an idea. It involves Bird getting back the camera (which was left behind after Sheriff Pembroke died) and taking it to a location where Roland can “fully grow.” Roland manifests and is dragged by Connor however, Bird snaps a photo of herself, prompting him chase her. She leads him into the school’s dark room, where he is able to fully develop, and set up a trap through the connection of her camera to a timer, however, the photographer, who has discovered her plan, manifests in an unexpected area, ambushing her and grabs her neck. She is able to steal the camera Roland and snap a photo of him just as he’s planning to murder and stab her. Roland is able to flinch the camera from her grasp, but Bird immediately crushes the photo in an attempt to kill him. This in turn crushes Roland in real life (and the fingers of Bird, like they did in the photo). However, he is able to survive and in fear for her life, she decides to burn it (and burning her fingers) and then disintegrates Roland and eventually end the spirit’s evil to the end, where all of this occurred many years in the past. Later, she reunites with her pals, and finally puts the camera in the water.