After Helen Shivers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) wins a beauty pageaent, Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Barry William Cox (Ryan Phillippe), and Ray Bronson (Freddie Prinze Jr.) are celebrating along with graduation on the 4th of July. The four friends go to a party and decide to head out to the beach in the middle of the night. Barry, who is intoxicated, decides to let Ray drive his car back home from the beach. On their way home, they hit and apparently kill a man who is walking in the road. While thinking what to do with the corpse, Julie's friend Max Neurick (Johnny Galecki) arrives. Julie tells him that everything is fine so he leaves. While dumping the body in a nearby sea, the body becomes alive and tries to attack Helen. They dump the corpse in the ocean and agree to never discuss again what had happened.