The first film was successful enough for the studio to produce a sequel. They hired second unit director David Ellis (who would go on to direct a later installment in the franchise and Snakes on a Plane).
Kimberly and her friends are going on a road trip. While waiting to get on the highway, Kimberly has a vision of a massive and horrific traffic accident. When she blocks the exit ramp, people start getting upset and a state trooper starts to talk with her…in the midst of their discussion, the accident occurs.
In this film, everyone is aware of Flight 180 from the first film, allowing the characters to quickly come together and try and figure out how to beat the system. There is some question for the audience on how much these deaths occur because of the characters interference (one character likely would not have died had the characters not called her on the phone and freaked her out). The film brings back Clear, who has had herself committed, because a padded room is as safe as it can get (or so goes her logic). Clear is the last survivor, Alex apparently dying between films. She helps Kimberly and they visit Bludworth the mortician (Tony Todd). He gives them some mumbo jumbo about new life severing the design of death.
The film culminates in an orgy of Rube Goldberg styled deaths. Everything leads to someones death, until there are only a few survivors. And this is what the franchise becomes from here on out. Just how ridiculously elaborate can the deaths be?
The film has a twist towards the end tying back to the first film. But the revelation does not really add anything to the story, other than, “Oh wow, they were connected to the original film!” The film starts the trend of expanding the cast to allow for more death and mayhem. Also, just like the first film, the last names of the characters are famous names of horror.