Five ambitious medical students embark on a daring and arrogant experiment: to push through the confines of life and touch the face of death. To help him venture into this realm, manipulative and ambitious Nelson Wright (Kiefer Sutherland) has recruited a self-made death expert (Julia Roberts), an idealistic former med student (Kevin Bacon), a ladies-man (William Baldwin), and their brilliant but self-absorbed documentarian (Oliver Platt). They take turns stopping their hearts until the monitors reading their vital signs indicate nothing but flat lines. Moments later, the other team members step in to revive them. They soon find, however, that they don't return alone from their peek at the afterlife; they bring back with them manifestations of their past transgressions, forcing them to deal with their past in the present and to learn difficult lessons about life as well as death.