A boy named JP dancing as he works his shift at a burger joint. He soon gets disturbed by a coworker who begs him to help cover her shift at the drive-through since she has something important to attend to. Even though he’s reluctant to do it, the coworker is quite convincing, and he agrees.
When he gets to the duty post, he’s also having fun while attending to the customers. Among them is Andrea, a friend of JP’s sister, Lily, who also happens to be inside the car. JP has a huge crush on Andrea, and he tries to score a few points but gets interrupted by Lily a few times.
Andrea then announces that Lily has gained admission to study at Columbia. JP is surprised to hear this, and Lily confirms it, telling him to make sure he’s around for the celebration at their house.
When JP finishes his shift at the drive-through, he calls his mom, Emilia, to complain about why he’s just getting to know about Lily’s good news. Emilia says it’s nothing serious and he should be happy for her and come home to celebrate. She also tells him that even though she’d be far away, Lily would always be there for him.
Much later, after hanging out with another coworker, JP arrives at home, and it’s not long after that Lily comes to see him in his room. At first, they start making fun of each other, but a while later, JP says he’s proud of her. Lily tries to bring up a conversation about how JP can also go to college, but he says college is not for him, and he’s only up for hustling. He even brags that he’d buy their mom a house before she graduates.
Lily finds everything he says funny, and eventually, she asks them to take a picture. Just as she takes the shot, JP notices that Lily has got a butterfly tattoo behind her ear. He looks very interested in it, but Lily tells him not to say a word about it to their mother. After that, they head out to the living room, where Lily’s celebration party is going down.
Everyone seems to be enjoying the party, with Lily playing with Cootie catchers and also sending one to JP as well. Shortly after, Emilia gives a speech about how happy she is for Lily. After she’s through, Lily takes over and says Emilia doesn’t have to worry much about her going far away, especially because JP will be around.
Just as she asks JP if he’ll take care of things while she’s away, a bright light shines through the house, and police officers enter to arrest everyone in there, including JP, Lily, and Emilia.
As it turns out, the state’s Governor, Harper Finn, has issued an executive order to arrest illegal immigrants, and also their children as accomplices for not reporting their parents. Several news stations continue to report the news, with political experts saying Finn’s move is to solidify his base before the election, especially since migrants in the state usually don’t vote for a Republican.
In his statement through the local news, Finn says there will be zero tolerance for illegal immigrants in the state.
Things move quite quickly, and JP, who is locked in a separate place, sees Lily being taken away to a different location. Days later, an official from the US Department of Homeland Security requests to see JP. When he gets to her office, JP recognizes the lady as one of those who is trying to get the Governor to overturn the executive order.
She tells him her attempts have failed and illegal immigrants will now be deported as soon as possible. JP is worried that this means his mother will leave, but the lady tells him that it’s possible for her to stay if a natural-born citizen of the U.S. can claim her.
JP offers to do it, but he’s told that since he’s still detained, it’s not possible. however, she tells him that there’s another solution. She shows him a leaflet of a program called The Elderly American Tolerance and Understanding Project, telling him it’s a community service program that can help set him free if he enrolls and completes the program.
Seeing as the only other option is to stand trial as an accomplice to an illegal immigrant, which he knows will not end well, he agrees to join the program.
Not long after, JP is interviewed by two officials who ask a few questions about him. Along with JP, other detainees: Camila, Big Mac, Chris, and Micah are also interviewed. Before they are taken to a place called the Alcove, which is where they’ll participate in the program, a security officer named Bruce gives all the volunteers certain instructions.
He tells them they’ll be unable to communicate with the outside world, and if they misbehave, he’ll bring them back to the detention center. The volunteers also get ankle monitors, which Bruce says will help the program coordinators monitor their movements, especially during curfew at night.
With this, the volunteers are taken to the Alcove, where they meet the founder of the program, Eddie. Eddie welcomes the volunteers and tells them that their job is to help take care of seniors and old people in the facility. He also tells them that if they stick with the program, they’ll leave more mature and even find the experience rewarding.
As he talks, none of the volunteers react to his speech, and he then introduces the operation officers, Cynthia and James.
From there, the volunteers are shown to their rooms, after which they’re taken around the Alcove for a tour. During the tour, JP’s attention catches a woman in a wheelchair named Greta, but he says nothing to her.
JP quickly becomes friends with Big Mac, Camila, and the rest. After they’re through with the tour, they head out to have lunch together. At the table, Big Mac complains about the kind of food they’re getting, and he mistakes Micah for a white girl, telling her to help them ask for better meals.
Micah clarifies it and says she’s Argentinian. Chris then starts talking about how he’s terrified of touching the old people in the Alcove.
He also says he won’t be eating or drinking anything from there because the only person he trusts not to poison him is his mom, and her food is all that he eats. While the others are also pitching in and asking Chris questions, Camila suddenly shouts at them as she’s tired of hearing them talk about irrelevant things, saying they’re not at summer camp. She gets up and leaves the table, and almost immediately, James comes over and hands out their uniforms to them.
The volunteers are asked to begin their assignments after they’ve gotten their uniforms. While Big Mac and Camila go on to pick the senior they’ll be caring for, JP is again drawn to Greta, and he chooses to attend to her.
JP introduces himself and starts talking to her, but he struggles to get a response from Greta. Seeing this, Micah has to come back to help him out by giving him a book and asking him to read to her. Just as he starts reading, Micah leaves, and suddenly, Greta finally speaks, saying, You will die here. JP stops reading to understand what she’s saying, but as Greta cries and tries to be louder, Cynthia injects her with something that gets her unconscious.
While JP is processing what had just happened, James tells him to back off as Cynthia wheels Greta away. As JP wonders where they’ll be taking her, Camila comes behind him and jokes about how he’s too good with women.
Later that day, when they’re in the dining room, the group of friends try to convince Chris to eat or drink something because he has still refused to take anything aside from using his inhaler. Chris doesn’t listen to them as he says he’s not going to break.
He then comes up with a theory, saying the program organizers are watching them from behind a dark glass and that something fishy is going down at the facility. He also says he’s not eating anything because he’ll leave soon. As this will mean escaping, which they’ve been warned about, Big Mac and JP tell Chris that will be a bad idea.
When Chris continues to talk about it, Micah tells him to stop talking and try it. Shockingly, Chris stands up and tries to open a locked door to get out. This turns out to be a very bad idea as his efforts to escape trigger an alarm system that sees some of the security officers at the Alcove bring a taser to shock him and then take him away, with the others doing nothing but watch.
That night during curfew, JP leaves his room to use the restroom but returns only to see an old lady who keeps saying, Virgil will set you free. JP doesn’t understand what this means, but the woman suddenly jumps on him. Before she can do anything, Cynthia is able to inject her to go unconscious while James tells JP to return to his room.
On the next day, Eddie takes the volunteers to a new ward to show them some of the seniors who had more serious conditions. He also apologizes to JP and explains that what happened to him last night was because someone left the door to that ward open, and the old lady got out. JP asks if they can help the seniors in the ward too, and Eddie says James will show him what to do if he wants to help.
While the others opt out, JP stays but isn’t too pleased when James calls him a name he doesn’t like. Eddie soon ensures they don’t come to blows when he notices that JP is getting angry.
Following that, James asks for JP’s help with putting one of the seniors on the bed. As JP helps, another patient bites his hand, and as he tries to tell James to handle the man carefully, JP passes out. He’s taken to the clinic, and while he’s there, he sees Lily.
He asks her where she has been, and she tells him she’s closer than he thinks, and they’ve only been a mile apart. It then turns out that JP was only having a dream, and Micah is the one there with him when he really wakes up.
She tells him he has been unconscious for a while and that the patient who bit him has been handled. JP tells her he doesn’t know why they treat the seniors like cattle, and Micah agrees with him.
When they both return to meet the others during lunch, JP is worried about Chris since they’ve not heard from him after his escape attempt. While they’re talking, Cynthia comes to call them to return to work, and this gives Camila the chance to ask about Chris. Cynthia says Chris has been sent back to the detention center and warns the others not to try escaping because they would also leave.
As she walks away, Big Mac tells the group that Cynthia is lying. He says it is because he found Chris’ inhaler in the hallway, and knowing that Chris wouldn’t go anywhere without it, then it has to be a lie. This leaves doubts in the minds of the others as they wonder what is really going on at the Alcove.
Later that night, when Big Mac has to attend to one of his assigned seniors, Phillip, he brings Greta with him, saying she would be Phillip’s date for the night. As he tries to connect the TV to play a movie for them, Phillip’s hand suddenly starts stretching out, with Greta looking terrified as she watches.
Seeing as Phillip hasn’t responded to him even though he has been talking to him, Big Mac moves closer to Phillip and notices that he has stopped breathing. As Big Mac looks at Greta to tell her, Phillip suddenly wakes up, and his entire body mysteriously starts stretching out and twisting uncontrollably. This continues to go on until his body reaches its limit, and he dies.
The next day, Eddie addresses the volunteers on Phillip’s death, saying he doesn’t understand what happened yet. After that, he tells James and JP to come with him. He takes them to see the Alcove’s owl, which he calls Virgil. He says Virgil is the gatekeeper of the Alcove, and the owl sees everything happening.
Eddie then tells James and JP that he has sensed a kind of animosity between them and that they should let go of their differences and hug it out. While they hug, James tells JP he has not forgiven him yet, and the feeling is mutual from JP, who doesn’t mind and also has an ulterior motive.
It turns out that while hugging James, JP steals the key to the ankle monitors and uses it to shut down the device and remove it during the hours of curfew. He goes on to call the others and unlock theirs too. They all then head over to the pool, and there, JP and Micah continue talking with each other and they spend the night together. The next morning, Big Mac praises JP for hooking up with Micah, and as they talk, JP is distracted again when he sees Greta playing with cootie catchers.
He approaches her and asks if someone gave it to her because his sister used to do things like that too. She doesn’t say a word but then points the cootie catcher at him. As he tries to collect it, she grabs his hand tightly and doesn’t want to let go until Cynthia and James arrive to sedate her and take her away.
As he watches, Micah comes over to meet him, and JP says he thinks there’s something wrong with Greta. Micah plays it down, saying she’s sure it’s nothing serious.
Later that night, JP can’t help but continue to figure out what message Greta must’ve been trying to pass to him with the cootie catcher. Suddenly, he figures that a part of it has the word help, and with that, he realizes she has been trying to ask for his help. That night, he finds a way to shut down his ankle monitor and then sneakily goes to the new ward Greta has been transferred to.
He sees her and tries to wake her up, but she has been heavily sedated, so his efforts are futile. Just then, he hears voices coming and hides under her bed. It happens to be James and Cynthia who are there to increase Greta’s dose so that she can be completely weak when she wakes up.
When they’re through, they head out, but are soon alerted by a strange sound that had come from JP when he was startled by one of Lily’s hands that fell in his direction. Cynthia says it’s likely nothing, so they leave.
After they’re gone, JP comes out and decides to check Greta’s ear. Much to his surprise, he sees Lily’s butterfly tattoo, which means it’s been Lily all along, and she had been trying to pass him a message since she saw him. JP is too shocked to process what is happening, and as he runs out, he is met with a punch from James, who waited behind because he was sure he heard something.
The next day, Big Mac, Camila, and Micah are worried by JP’s sudden disappearance, and that lets them remember Chris again. Big Mac comes up with a plan to find out more details about what is really going on at the Alcove by breaking into James’ office.
They set the plan in motion, and as they watch James leave the office, Big Mac and Micah go in while Camila stands outside to be the watch girl. Inside the office, it takes a while before Big Mac sees a file with some names. He finds Chris’ name there and sees that he’s in solitary, even though he doesn’t understand what that means. Just then, James returns, and Camila is unable to keep him out for too long, so he enters.
Big Mac and Micah are able to hide until he leaves again. When they get out, Big Mac is about to tell Camila what he saw when James appears behind him and tells him to go and fix the screw to the vents. As he’s doing it, one of the seniors tries to hurt Cynthia, but Bruce is quick to stop the attack, though he happens to push the man against the ladder Big Mac is using, and that sees Big Mac fall to the ground and go unconscious.
Cynthia and Bruce immediately take Big Mac away while they also alert James of what happened. Meanwhile, JP is strapped to a seat in a lab where all the others next to him have half of their face looking old, including him. James is there, and he seems to be working with some chemicals. JP watches closely as lab staff type in the code to open the door that leads out of the lab. With that, he starts working to free himself.
Elsewhere, Finn meets Eddie, and the men talk about how Finn’s burger chain business is making lots of profits because of how cheap it is. They then talk about how the meat in the burgers doesn’t cost Finn anything because it’s actually humans. It turns out that the program at the Alcove is a way to turn the children of migrants into minced meat, which will then be used for burgers. Finn says it’s what they deserve because they’re not fully Americans and don’t deserve to be in the country.
Back at the Alcove, JP gets out of the chair and attempts his escape. He, however, struggles to remember the code he had seen the lab staff use to unlock the door. Suddenly, he remembers the woman who kept shouting that Virgil would set him free and Eddie also saying Virgil is the Alcove’s gatekeeper. He uses Virgil as the code, and the door opens.
Not long after, James notices that JP has escaped, and he alerts Bruce and Cynthia, who are about to inject Big Mac with enough adrenaline to wake him up. Since there is something else more important, they leave Big Mac, who happens to be pretending to still be unconscious.
JP manages to keep moving as fast as he can, even though his body is now weaker. Just as James is about to get to him, JP bumps into Micah and asks for her help, but instead, she injects him with a sedative, and it appears to be that she had been an insider all along. When JP wakes up, Micah is there with Eddie, who talks about the reasons behind the program, which all points to his and the Governor’s hate for migrants.
When Eddie leaves, Micah gives JP more details, saying the volunteers are usually injected with hormones that make them grow old fast and also make their bodies softer. She also tells him that what happened to Phillip is usually the last stage that lets Eddie, and the others know that the person is ready to be processed for meat.
Elsewhere, Camila suddenly starts to worry about what is really going on in the facility, and just as she wonders how she can get her ankle monitor to go off, Big Mac slips the key to her through the vents as he has also escaped and is moving around in the vents to avoid being seen. Camila leaves her room and goes to the dining room.
There, she takes another look at the dark glass Chris talked about and breaks it, only to see a room with monitors showing that the place is more like a control room where the program coordinators have been watching all of them. As she contemplates what to do next, James appears and drags her away, after which she’s also injected.
When she wakes up, she sees JP, and they joke about how they look. After that, JP is suddenly disgusted by Finn’s speech on TV, and he tells Camila that they have to get out of there as soon as possible. He adds that they’ll make their move after dinner. Before then, though, he goes over to old Lily, who is now awake, he makes her smile and promises to get her out.
Later that night, when James, Cynthia, and Micah come over to sedate all the volunteers in the ward, they all stand their ground and attack the three of them. JP immediately leaves to try and find an exit, but Bruce stops and attacks him. While still in the vents, Big Mac sees Bruce trying to kill JP, and he jumps down to save his friend.
After that, Big Mac leads JP back to the ward. James tries to get hold of JP there, but Big Mac attacks him. With this, JP is able to get into a nearby elevator together with Lily and Camila. Big Mac, on the other hand, leads the other volunteers, who are now old, to beat up James and the others before then heading out. When they get outside, Big Mac approaches a lady in a car for her phone so that he can call the authorities. However, she sees all the old volunteers and is too scared, so she drives away.
Meanwhile, the elevator takes JP, Lily, and Camila to the processing facility, where they see Chris, who is also looking old and in a cage. As JP talks to Chris, Eddie suddenly appears and beats up JP until he passes out. He then puts JP on a meat grinder and turns it on for JP to slowly move towards the machine’s blades.
However, Eddie doesn’t know that JP is there with Camila, and as he watches JP on the machine, Camila hits him with a plank to knock him out. She then drags JP away.
Eddie doesn’t back down as he gets up again and attacks Camila first before then trying to kill JP. As he’s then about to strangle JP, Chris goes into the stretching and twisting phase while in the cage. Luckily, Lily is right beside the switch to open the cage, and she does just that. Chris then goes on to kill Eddie, leaving JP, Lily, and Camila free. When they make it out, the three of them stop at a park and fall asleep there.
The whole country finds out about Finn and Eddie’s program, and news agencies start reporting that Finn did it to try to get rid of those who wouldn’t vote for him. The news also reports that Finn has fled the country, and his burger chain has been closed down. The executive order is also lifted, and Emilia is seen leaving the detention center.
Elsewhere, Big Mac arrives at the park with the other volunteers, but he notices that JP, Lily, and Camila are now unconscious.
However, it turns out to be a prank, and after they make fun of him, Big Mac helps them stand up to leave, before heading back, to their homes.