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- "It's an evil fucking room."
- ―Gerald Olin
|Directed by:||Mikael Håfström|
|Written by:||Matt Greenberg; Scott Alexander; Larry Karaszewski; Stephen King|
|Produced by:||Kelly Dennis; Antonia Kalmacoff; Lorenzo di Bonaventura; Jake Myers; Richard Saperstein; Jeremy Steckler|
|Music by:||Gabriel Yared|
|Edited by:||Peter Boyle|
|Distributed by:||Dimension Films|
|Released:||June 22nd, 2007|
|Running time:||104 min.; 112 min. (director's cut)|
1408 is a 2007 horror film directed by Mikael Håfström. Produced by Dimension Films, it was released theatrically on June 22nd, 2007. The film is based on the short story "1408" by famed horror novelist Stephen King, which first appeared in King's 1999 audio book Blood and Smoke. The central plot of 1408 is reminiscent of one of King's previous works, the 1977 novel The Shining, which was later adapted into a film in 1980 by Stanley Kubrick. Both films feature writers who suffer from addiction (The Shinings Jack Torrance was an alcoholic and Mike Enslin from 1408 smokes cigarettes); both elect to stay inside a mysterious hotel with a grim and violent history; both are tormented by ghosts from the past, as well as the sins of their own past. In 1408, Mike Enslin, played by John Cusack, rents a room at a luxurious Manhattan hotel, only to find that all of the horrible stories he has heard about the room are absolutely true.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Mike Enslin is a skeptic and author who writes books confirming and rating supernatural vacation spots (such as haunted inns) despite his knowing they are fake after the death of his daughter Katie. After his latest book, he receives an anonymous postcard of the Hotel Dolphin in New York City bearing the message "don't enter 1408". Viewing this as a challenge, Enslin attempts to book a reservation for Room 1408, but the hotel will not rent him the room. However, after being informed by Enslin's agent, Sam Farrell, that the Fair Housing Act requires hotels to rent unoccupied rooms, the Dolphin reluctantly reserves room 1408 for Enslin.
Arriving at the Dolphin, Enslin is pulled aside by the hotel's manager, Gerald Olin, who warns him that no one has lasted more than an hour in 1408. Olin offers Enslin an upgrade to the penthouse suite, access to documents regarding the deaths in 1408, and an $800 bottle of cognac if Enslin would abandon his plan to stay at 1408. Enslin accepts the documents and the cognac but insists on staying in the room, frustrating Olin. The manager gives him the key, warning him that "it's an evil fucking room".
Once inside the room, Enslin pulls out his mini cassette recorder and dictates on the un-remarkability of room 1408. As he examines the room, the radio suddenly starts blaring "We've Only Just Begun" by The Carpenters, initially thinking it is just a gag cooked up by Olin. Later, Enslin is startled again as the clock radio begins to play the same song. When he turns the clock off the display flickers and changes to read "60:00", then starts counting down from 60 minutes. Suddenly, Enslin is unable to hear anything, apart from a tinnitus-like ringing in his ears, and opens the window to check his hearing; the window slams down, cutting a large gash in the top of his hand. He rushes to the bathroom to wash the wound in the sink, but the water suddenly becomes boiling hot and damages his wound even further. His hearing quickly returns and he bandages his hand using a bandana from his bag. Wishing to go to a hospital, Enslin attempts to leave the room; however his key breaks off in the door. He still manages to unlock the door, but then the doorknob falls off, trapping him inside 1408.
Enslin begins to see and hear things, including visions of his daughter's time in the hospital shortly before her death, but he initially dismisses them as hallucinations. Among one of these strange visions is a face-to-face encounter with his own father, who tells him, "As I was, you are. As I am, you will be", a quote attributed to the Roman poet Horace regarding death. He makes several attempts to free himself from the room such as crawling through the air vents, where he is seen being chased by a mummified body (one of 1408's earlier victims), or trying to crawl outside on the ledge to the next room, but all end in failure. He manages to contact his estranged wife Lily by video chat, but the conversation ends abruptly when the sprinkler system shorts out his laptop. All the while the room temperature drops, eventually to subzero temperatures. However, his laptop starts working again and he hears Lily calling out to him by video chat, but a doppelgänger of him hijacks the conversation, urging Lily to come the hotel immediately and enter room 1408. As a panicked Enslin watches this conversation end, the doppelgänger looks at him directly and winks. The room begins to shake violently and the interior cracks and explodes as water fills the room, pulling Enslin under the surface.
Enslin wakes up on the beach, the result of an earlier surfing accident that is depicted earlier in the film when he became unconscious. He soon finds Lily at his bedside in the hospital near his home in Los Angeles. She tells him that he was hospitalized after sustaining a concussion. He immediately writes a novel on his experience in 1408 and goes to mail it. This reprieve is short-lived, however, when at the post office a construction crew made up of hotel staff and guests begin to destroy the interior, revealing the walls and floor of 1408 underneath, now fire gutted, and finding himself still trapped in the room. There is a small inscription on the wall visible from the window, reading Burn Me Alive. Enslin then encounters his dead daughter, alive, but dying again, and crumbling to dust as the clock radio's countdown approaches zero; when it finally reaches zero the room changes back to its original, undamaged appearance.
The clock radio resets for another 60 minutes and the phone rings; when Enslin answers, he asks "Why don't you just kill me?" the friendly female voice of the hotel operator informs him that he can relive the hour "again and again" or choose to take advantage of their "express checkout system". A hangman's knot appears in the bedroom and Enslin has a vision of him hanging himself; he tells the operator that he will not be checking out that way. The phone rings again, and the operator reminds him that his wife will be arriving in five minutes and will be sent right up to his room. He responds he is through arguing and is going to end the experience.
Turning the cognac he got earlier from Olin into a Molotov Cocktail, Enslin sets the room on fire, causing the hotel to be evacuated. Lily, who just arrives after she had been summoned by Enslin, is stopped from entering the hotel, but tells the firefighters that Enslin is in 1408. Enslin throws an ashtray through the room's windows, intentionally causing a back draft to overtake the room just seconds before firefighters batter down the door. They get him out and, though burned, Enslin is told that he will be all right. Enslin attempts to tell the firefighters not to enter the room, as it is "evil". The next shot is a smiling Olin seated in his office, smoking a cigar saying "Well done, Mister Enslin".
Enslin recovers in a New York hospital, Lily at his bedside. He swears that he saw Katie, but Lily refuses to believe him. After his recovery Enslin moves back in with Lily, beginning work on a new novel about his stay in 1408. While sorting through a box of items from his night in 1408 that Lily wants to discard, Enslin comes across his Mini Cassette recorder. After some difficulty he manages to get the tape to play; it begins with Enslin's dictation of 1408's appearance, but cuts in with audio from his interaction with the apparition of his daughter. He holds it to his chest and the scene fades to black. 
Cast[edit | edit source]
Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The tagline to this film is, "No one lasts more than an hour".
- In November 2003 and 2004, Dimension Films optioned the rights to the 1999 short story "1408" by Stephen King. The studio hired screenwriter Matt Greenberg to adapt the story into a screenplay. 
- Director Mikael Håfström has stated that the ending for 1408 was reshot because test audiences felt that the original ending was too much of a "downer".  The original ending, available on the two-disc collector's edition, sees the back draft engulfing the room as Enslin hides under the table, happy to see the room destroyed as he dies. Olin later approaches Lily and Enslin's agent at his funeral, where he unsuccessfully attempts to give back a box of Enslin's possessions and his tape recorder. Olin listens to the recording in his car, which leaks the "essence" of 1408, causing him to hear Katie's voice on the tape and catches a quick glimpse of a horribly burnt Enslin in his rear view mirror. The film ends at the gutted room, with an apparition of Enslin disappearing after being called away by the voice of his daughter and the sound of a closing door. Canadian networks Space and The Movie Network broadcast this version of the film. The UK single DVD also uses this ending.
Characters[edit | edit source]
In alphabetical order
- A lawyer
- Gerald Olin
- Gerald Olin was the manager of the Hotel Dolphin. He tried to convince Mike Enslin to abandon his quest to spend the night in the room. Failing that, he was however impressed to see that Enslin survived what was surely a harrowing experience in the haunted Room 1408.
- Katie Enslin
- Katie Enslin was the daughter of Michael and Lily Enslin. At a young age, she contracted an incurable illness and her parents tried to console her with thoughts of peace and heaven. She eventually died and Mike took her passing extremely hard. He believed they should have taught her to fight harder rather than filling her head with fanciful visions of an afterlife. Michael believed he saw Katie's spirit as one of the phantoms inhabiting Room 1408.
- Kevin O'Malley
- Entry not yet written.
- Lily Enslin
- Lily Enslin was the wife of Mike Enslin and the mother of Katie Enslin. Following their daughter's death, Lily and Mike grew apart and were eventually estranged from one another. While staying at the Hotel Dolphin, a doppelgänger of Mike contacted Lily via video chat and beckoned her to come to the hotel. She arrived at the building, but was fortunate enough not to go into the room.
- Mike Enslin
- Mike Enslin was an author from Los Angeles who made his career investigating famous haunted locales and writing about his experiences there. He insisted on renting Room 1408 in the hopes of debunking its illustriously grim history. Mike spent several hours in the room and was terrorized by a myriad of ghosts and strange occurances. He eventually escaped, but at great cost to himself.
- Mike's father
- Mike's father appeared to him as one of the phantasms inhabiting Room 1408. He cryptically spoke the words "As I was, you are. As I am, you will be" to him.
- Sam Farrell
- Entry not yet written.
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