Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a walking wound. Still mourning the death of his wife a couple of years after she gave birth to their son, the young lawyer has seen his career put into jeopardy and this worry is compounded by the bills beginning to stack up. The patience and sympathy of his boss is beginning to run out, and in a last chance to save his job, Arthur is given the task of heading to the remote village of Crythin Gifford to settle the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Arthur's boss warns that the locals have been a bit uncooperative, a description the lawyer will soon find to be an understatement. And despite a calculated effort by the citizens, who literally put him on a carriage back to the station to catch the train to London, he perserveres, and is slowly ensnared in a mystery that has essentially paralyzed the town.