The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel's posessed room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr. Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
At one point in the movie, Mike wears a hat that says "Paranoia is total awareness." This is a nod to one of Stephen King's favorite quotes, "Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness." See more »
While Mike is reviewing the room for the first time, he puts down the bottle of cognac on the bedside table, opened. When the radio starts and he looks back from the window, the cork has magically reappeared. See more »
-***Spoiler Alert - Alternate Ending*** The Director's Cut contains a more tragic ending. Mike Enslin sets fire to 1408 but is not rescued by the fire department. Instead, the last we see of him is when he's lying on his back in the burning room and we hear the words of his daughter "everybody dies". The camera zooms in on the numbers on the outside door, just as they melt from the heat. The next scene is at Mike's funeral where his coffin is lowered into the ground right next to his daughter's; just as the visions 1408 prophesied. Lily is there, being consoled by Mike's agent. As the procession ends, Lily walks to her car and is met by Gerald Olin who is carrying a box. Gerald introduces himself and gives his condolences. He says the box contains some of Mike's belongings still left in the room. He offers it to Lily while also trying to explain, with a sense of hope, that Mike's death of was not in vain and that because of his actions no one else will *ever be able to stay in room 1408. Lily, in too much grief to listen, cuts him off and refuses to accept the box. Gerald returns to his car and opens the box, which contains the nightgown that was sent through the fax machine as well and the burned tape recorder. Gerald plays it and hears the same dialog between Mike and his daughter heard at the end of the theatrical release. As he listens, he sees a young girl in his rear-view mirror waving in his direction. He turns around to look at her and catches a brief vision of Mike Enslin in his back seat, hideously burned. Gerald jumps but the vision quickly disappears. He looks back at the girl who has found her dad that was looking for her. Gerald catches his breath, starting his car and driving off. The final scene goes back to room 1408. We see a specter Mike Enslin staring out the window. The last shot is of him finishing his cigarette and walking towards the door just as he vanishes. See more »
Watching the River Flow
Written and Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment See more »
different, subtle, and very, very good
Please note that this review refers to the theatrical version, and not the Director's Cut DVD release which features a completely different ending.
Mike Enslin is a cynic. He is the author of books that detail and debunk popular ghost stories and haunted hot-spots, and it quickly becomes obvious that he is somewhat disenchanted with the life that he leads. That is, of course, until he receives an invitation to Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel, a room in which lies his and arguably John Cusack's biggest challenge yet.
It soon becomes apparent that 1408 is not your standard horror movie, as what follows, after an enjoyably creepy encounter with hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson), is essentially 90 minutes of John Cusack in a room. On his own. Save for, of course, whatever lurks inside 1408. It is a challenge that Cusack rises to expertly; we all know he's a good actor and a brilliant everyman (I don't remember a film in which I've wanted to see him crash and burn), but 1408 allows him to display his range to great effect as the room confronts him with the physical dangers of the present and the emotional tragedies of his past.
While it's relatively light on big scares, 1408 instead creates a powerful sense of unease that combines wonderfully with Cusack's portrayal of a man enduring his own private hell. Each challenge thrown up by the room takes the movie somewhere new and unexpected, ensuring that the movie never really gets tired or repetitive, and as a result each scene in the room is tense, surprising, and very, very creepy. However, that's not to say that it doesn't lose its way occasionally. Some of the CGI usage is quite ineffective, and about two-thirds through the movie it feels like it's about to go the wrong way, but it recovers well for the final act, and its haunting ending ensures that you'll remember it long after you leave the theatre.
A brilliantly acted, well developed version of King's short story, 1408 is a different type of horror movie, but in all the right ways. Very good!
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