Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) investigate the death of a woman (Alison Trumbull) who Perlmutter (Arye Gross) confirms died when their heart literally stopped after watching what she believed was a haunted DVD. After talking with the victim’s roommate (Vivian Kerr) and ex-boyfriend, Beckett learns the victim was acting increasingly erratic and paranoid in the days leading up to her death including buying several charms to ward off evil. After accidentally watching the DVD while searching the victim’s apartment for clues, Castle begins to fear he has been cursed as well.
Despite dismissing the curse as an urban legend both Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) refuse to watch the disc to look for any clues the video may contain forcing Beckett to watch the DVD herself. Ryan traces the package to one dead man’s P.O. Box and another dead man’s apartment (another of the DVD’s victims), neither of whom could have sent the package. Returning home to a sleepless night, Castle calls on the comfort of an old friend (Wes Craven, playing himself) for pointers on how to save the heroes of Castle’s new “movie script.” Taking the advice of Craven, and calling on the help of his legion of fans, Castle identifies the creepy hotel used in video which is the first clue to connect the two victims together as both stayed there at the same time five years earlier.
Beckett and Esposito take a trip to the nearly abandoned hotel whose caretaker (Bob Bancroft) connects the victims as prosecutory witnesses to the 2008 trial of a serial killer (Jeffrey Nicholas Brown) who died in prison three years ago. Castle and Beckett walk in the steps of their victim, heading to the insane asylum which houses the serial killer’s brother (Sean Whalen) who she visited before her death. Ryan also discovers that someone recently dug up the serial killer’s grave and his current whereabouts of his remains is unknown. Ryan and Esposito start rounding up the other witnesses as Castle and Beckett head to a cabin in the woods in search of the next name (Brad William Henke) on the list who received the DVD in the mail thee days ago.
As Beckett races into the foggy night to tackle a cloaked figure circling the cabin, who turns out the be the nurse (Romy Rosemont) of the serial killer’s brother, Castle talks with the next intended victim discovering who is really marking the witnesses for death, and why. “Scared to Death” plays up the horror aspects of the story nicely as Castle becomes increasingly concerned while Beckett’s cold logic dismisses the increasingly peculiarity of their latest case. The episode also has a number of late twists, doing a good job of not only hiding the identity of the killer but the motive for the murders as well.