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
The reoccurring photo Mike sees of a former guest in 1408 who committed suicide was created purely with computer effects. The actress who played the guest laid atop the bed and had her picture taken. Afterwards digital editing software was used to make it appear as if she had slit her wrists. The photos were then printed on traditional photo paper and added to the other prop photos in Mr. Olin's folder. See more »
During the scene where Mike unplugs the clock radio from the outlet, the liquor bottle that he was given disappears from the table for a few shots, then eventually returns. 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 »
Mike Enslin makes a living as an author, who specializes in the paranormal phenomenon. After receiving a postcard saying DO NOT STAY IN 1408, Mike becomes intrigued. After much hassle and waring from the hotel Manager, Mike finally makes it into the room. What at first seems to be a normal hotel room, turns into a horrific nightmare and Mike only has one hour to live.
There have been many films based on Kings writings. Some of these films are terrifying, such as IT and The Shinning; while others are terrifyingly bad, Dreamcatcher anyone? The latest film to be added to the list is 1408 and lucky for us it belongs to the former. 1408 works on many different levels and even throws a twist to the audience. While it's not the best King adaptation it certainly is one of the better ones and deserves to be called The Shining for 2007.
In the era when so called horror films are full of SAWS and HOSTELS, it's refreshing to see some new blood being pumped into the genre. 1408 pumps a whack of blood and a whole lot more. The film starts off as one would expect, with Mike investigating one of his routine spooky places, then goes on to show his life as a writer with not so many fans. We get a sense of loneliness with Mike, he has lost something. Cusack plays the character well. For those who think they can't get pass the fact that it is John Cusack, I assure you you will not think about it during this film. His performance is a complete 180 from his previous work and I give him credit for pulling it off. Cusack goes through a wide range of emotions through this film, most of them being on the terrified side, but everyone of them is believable. Sure there are many other actors out there who could have pulled off this role, but Cusack does a fine job. Which is a really big thing that this film depends on, because there is virtually no one else in this film. The supporting characters are lucky is they get 10 minutes of screen time. Tony Shalhoub, of MONK fame is only in one scene and Mr. Jackson shares the screen with Cusack for just about ten minutes...to explain the horrors of the room, then he's gone.
Håfström, whose work I'm not too familiar with does an excellent job of bringing King's short story to live with a vivid and creative imagination. He manages to keep the audience on the edge of their seat throughout the film the moment the terror starts. The film's intentions are not to scare you with the "jump" tactic, but tries to pull something deeper, the kind of scare the builds and builds until you can't take it anymore. The entire time we are in this claustrophobic room and we know danger is looming, but we can't escape. We are stuck in this room because Mike is stuck in this room. We know the dangers ahead, we want out, he doesn't. The cinematography is beautiful, especially considering it takes place in one room. From the icy cold snow to the green walls and even the burnt aftermath of destruction, the film is beautiful no matter what is on the screen.
Cusack talking into his recorder acts as his mind trying to grab any sense of reality in this evil room. Trying to debunk the true horrors of what is actually happening. Those true horrors are psychological. One minute something spooky is happening, then next everything is normal. This mind game has been done before and before and here it's brought to the next level. Everything that happens can instantly change. One minute you can be walking in the room full of snow, then next your trapped under water. Being confined to this one room with this one character places tension on the audience as well. We don't know what is going to happen next, but we know it's not good.
There is somewhat of a twist in the film, I won't give it away, but once it happens you see 3 things happen and in this order. One is disappointment, the next is predictability and finally excitement that what you predicted is true. During this third part of things that happen, the scene in which everything is thrown back into focus is superbly done. Kudos to that scene as it is one of the best in the entire film. The main characters life he thought he had all of a sudden comes tumbling down, literally. This whole segment does slow down the pace of the film, but it fits perfectly into the psychological torment of this character.
In the end 1408 is an excellent film that will send shivers down the spines of those wanting a good scare. If you're sick and tired of the played out genres of SAW or HOSTEL, 1408 is something new and exciting and actually good. You won't get much from anyone other then Cusack, but what he brings to the table is indeed a good performance. Every corner and every room within 1408 is something that you will have to see for yourself, you never know what horrors lie next and that my friend, is a good horror film.
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