Years after the events of the first film, Val McKee has moved away and married Rhonda LeBeck, while Earl Basset has squandered his fortune on a failing ostrich ranch. He is approached by Carlos Ortega, who informs him that graboids are killing his workers at his oil field in Chiapas, Mexico, and hires him to hunt them down. Earl initially declines, but Ortega's taxi driver, Grady Hoover, convinces Earl to change his mind; both join the hunt. Upon arrival, Earl learns that the company would pay him double if he caught one of the creatures alive. He also meets geologist Kate Reilly, her assistant Julio, and a mechanic named Pedro, all of whom are scientifically investigating the Graboids.
Earl and Grady begin systematically killing the Graboids by using remote-controlled cars rigged with explosives. Though their strategy seems to work, the vast number of Graboids overwhelms them and Earl enlists the help of Burt Gummer, who arrives with a truck loaded with firearms and explosives. The next day, Earl and Grady encounter what appears to be a sick non-aggressive Graboid that surprises them, causing Earl to drive backwards haphazardly, which results in him crashing their truck. After calling Pedro to come to pick them up with the Graboid, it begins making horrific sounds and is soon found dead, seemingly violently ripped open from the inside. They see Pedro's truck approach from the distance but it suddenly stops, prompting Grady and Earl to investigate and discover Pedro's remains alongside the truck's destroyed engine. They make their way to a nearby radio broadcasting building which has similarly been destroyed, only to be met by strange bipedal graboid-like creatures. Earl successfully kills one as it charges him, but the two flee in a car they had found as more of the creatures arrive. Meanwhile, Burt's truck is ambushed by a pack of these new creatures while returning to base.
The following morning, the creatures have made their way to the oil refinery, where Julio is violently killed by one. Grady and Earl arrive before it can attack Kate, with Burt shortly arriving thereafter following a near-fatal firefight that has left him drained of ammunition. Through experimentation, the group discovers that these creatures (now dubbed 'Shriekers') are hermaphrodites that can replicate at an incredible rate after eating enough food. They also learn that the creatures cannot hear unlike their predecessors, but rather see heat through special infrared receptors on their heads. However, they are attacked by the Shriekers, who have discovered Burt's MRE food supply and have rapidly doubled their numbers in a matter of minutes. They run for Julio's car, but Burt accidentally disables it while killing a Shrieker.
Hiding from the Shriekers, Burt is trapped in a bulldozer bucket while Grady, Kate, and Earl are on top of an oil tower. The Shriekers work together in an attempt to climb the tower before Burt traps them in the storage shed with the truck. However, they discover rice flour is stored inside as well, enabling the Shriekers to continue eating and multiplying inside. Earl douses himself in CO2 from a fire extinguisher to hide his body heat, and tries to find Burt's explosives amongst the Shriekers, who have multiplied into dozens of creatures. While the plan initially works, the CO
2 quickly wears off and the Shriekers detect his body heat, forcing Earl to throw the detonator among Burt's supplies before escaping. The group manages to escape before a massive explosion decimates the entire facility, destroying all of the Shriekers with it. In the aftermath, Earl and Kate decide to pursue each other romantically, while Grady suggests opening a monster-themed theme park due to the money Ortega now owes them.
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