1408 (film)

1408 (film)

Infobox Film
name = 1408

caption =
director = Mikael Håfström
producer = Lorenzo di Bonaventura
writer = Screenplay:
Matt Greenberg
Scott Alexander
Larry Karaszewski
Short Story:
Stephen King
starring = John Cusack
Samuel L. Jackson
music = Gabriel Yared
cinematography = Benoît Delhomme
editing = Peter Boyle
distributor = Dimension Films/MGM (USA)
Paramount Pictures (UK, Latin America)
released = U.S. : June 22, 2007
UK : August 31, 2007
U.S. : October 2, 2007 (DVD)
runtime = 106 mins.
country = U.S.
language = English
budget = $22,200,000 (estimated) [cite news | author=Box Office Mojo | url=http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=1408.htm | title=1408 | publisher=Box Office Mojo | date=2003-11-05 | accessdate=2007-05-06 ]
gross = $130,000,000
followed_by =
website = http://www.1408-themovie.com/
amg_id = 1:351266
imdb_id = 0450385

"1408" is a 2007 horror film based on the Stephen King short story of the same name directed by Swedish film director Mikael Håfström. The cast includes John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson and Mary McCormack. The film was released in the U.S. on June 22, 2007 although July 13th is mentioned as the release date in the trailer posted on the website. The film has been rated PG-13 in the U.S. for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, and frightening images.

The film follows Mike Enslin, an author who specializes in the horror genre. Enslin's career is essentially based on investigating allegedly haunted houses, although his repeatedly unfruitful studies have left him disillusioned and pessimistic. Through an anonymous recommendation (via postcard), Enslin eventually learns of the Dolphin Hotel in New York City, which houses the infamous "Room 1408". Interested yet skeptical, Enslin decides to spend one night in the hotel although manager Mr. Olin warns him strongly against it. Enslin encounters a series of bizarre experiences in the room.


Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a skeptic author who debunks supernatural occurrences after the untimely death of his daughter Katie. Before this event, he used to write fiction, and a woman at a book signing asks him to sign a copy of his first book, a novel called "The Long Road Home". After finishing his latest successful book, he receives an anonymous postcard of the Dolphin Hotel 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 (Tony Shalhoub) 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 (Samuel L. Jackson), who warns him that no one has lasted more than an hour in 1408. Olin tries to be friendly with Enslin; he compliments him on "The Long Road Home", offers Enslin an upgrade to the penthouse suite, an $800 bottle of cognac and access to documents regarding the deaths in 1408 if Enslin abandons his plan to stay in 1408. When Enslin insists, Olin begins reciting the docet of carnage that includes 7 jumpers, 4 overdoses, 5 hangings, 3 mutilations, 2 stranglings, 1 drowning and 22 natural deaths (strokes, heart attacks, etc.) in room 1408. Enslin accepts the documents and the cognac but insists on staying in the room, frustrating Olin.

Once inside the room, Enslin pulls out his Mini Cassette recorder and dictates on the unremarkability of room 1408. As he examines the room, the clock radio suddenly starts blaring "We've Only Just Begun" by The Carpenters; he is startled, but dismisses it as a gag cooked up by Olin. When he calls for room service, the hotel operator agrees to requests Enslin didn't make, like ordering a sandwich or tickets to the Metropolitan Opera. Later, Enslin is startled again as the clock radio begins to play the same song, and the display scrambles and then displays 60:00, then starts counting down from 60 minutes. When he rips the clock's electrical cord from the wall, it continues to tick down. 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. His hearing quickly returns and he goes to the bathroom to clean his hand, but is burned by the hot water blasting out of the faucet under incredible pressure. He then bandages his hand using a bandanna from his bag. Wishing to go to a hospital, Enslin attempts to leave the room; however, his key breaks off in the door and gets sucked out of the keyhole. The doorknob subsequently breaks off in his hand, trapping him inside 1408. Trying to find a way out, he sees a man in an apartment looking at him. Relieved, Enslin waves to him. The man waves back. Enslin motions calling the police; the man motions as if in confirmation. Enslin, noticing that the man mimics his actions exactly, picks up a lamp. The man does as well. Just as Enslin realizes it was a trick conjured up by the room, a woman creeps up behind the man across the street, picks up a stick and lifts it over her head, preparing to attack the man. Enslin whips around to face an old, seemingly deranged man brandishing a club. Then, just as suddenly he appeared, the man disappears.

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, possibly due to a drug in the cognac. He makes several attempts to free himself from the room, such as trying to crawl outside on the ledge to the next room or crawling through the air vents, but logic-defying events (such as all other windows on the hotel's exterior disappearing, and a desiccated corpse chasing him through the ventilation shafts) prevent him from succeeding, all the while being assaulted by horrifying illusionary apparitions of 1408's former victims. Several times, he has illusions about his past traumas: he encounters his late, invalid father in a hospital room (whom he may have alluded to when he described a plot element of "The Long Road Home"), sees a memory of his family when Katie was still alive and re-witnesses Katie's death. Finally, he is literally trapped inside 1408 when the door and one of the windows are blocked by brick walls and the other window disappears. He manages to contact his wife Lily (Mary McCormack) via 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 via video chat, but a doppelgänger of him hijacks the conversation, urging Lily to come to the hotel immediately and enter room 1408. As Enslin desperately tries to tell his wife not to come, the room begins to shake violently, and water explodes and floods out of a painting of a schooner lost at sea, pulling Enslin under the surface.

Enslin wakes up on the beach, the result of a surfing accident depicted earlier in the film. He soon finds Lily at his bedside in a hospital near his home in Los Angeles; she tells him that he was hospitalized after sustaining a concussion, leading him to conclude 1408 was just a dream. This reprieve is short-lived, however, when at the post office to mail a manuscript of his latest book (with a story about 1408) to his agent, a construction crew made up of hotel staff and guests begin to destroy the interior, revealing the walls and floor of 1408 underneath, now severely fire-damaged. He is still trapped inside 1408. Enslin then encounters his dead daughter, but as he emotionally embraces her she dies in his arms, then crumbles to dust as the clock radio's countdown approaches zero. Enraged, Enslin lashes out against what remains of the room until he falls to the floor, exhausted. When the clock radio 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, 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 noose 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 5 minutes and will be sent right up to his room. He responds he is done arguing and is going to end the experience. When he puts down the phone, it starts to melt and a grave sounding voice starts reciting numbers and tries to dishearten Enslin.

Using a torn bit of his bandanna to turn the cognac into a Molotov cocktail, Enslin sets the room on fire, causing the hotel to be evacuated. Lily arrives just seconds afterwards and is stopped from entering the hotel, but tells the firefighters that Enslin is in 1408. Meanwhile, as the room tries to extinguish the fire, Enslin breaks a window with an ashtray, causing a huge backdraft that engulfs 1408. The firefighters force entry into the room and rescue Enslin as he curls under the coffee-table, delighted that the room is dying. 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 that has nothing to do with his previous cheap haunted sites series. While sorting through a box of items from his night in 1408, 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. Lily freezes in shock as she hears her dead daughter's voice coming from the tape recorder, and the film closes on Enslin meeting her shocked stare with one of grim .

Alternative ending

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". [http://www.cinemablend.com/dvdnews/Advance-Hint-At-1408-DVD-Contents-4676.html Advance Hint At 1408 DVD Contents - DVD News] The original ending, available exclusively on the Director's Cut edition, sees the backdraft engulfing the room as Enslin hides under the coffee 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, telling her, relieved, that Enslin did not die in vain. Olin listens to the recording in his car, hearing Katie's voice on the tape; he jumps in surprise as he catches a quick glimpse of the now horribly burnt Enslin in his rear view mirror. Enslin now bears resemblance to a ghostly man that appeared in several other scenes, including the window/mirror scene and in the painting of the schooner. The scene then changes to an outside view of the gutted 1408, with an apparition of Enslin disappearing after being called away by the voice of his daughter and the sound of a closing door.

The UK and Irish rental DVD is branded as the "Director's Cut" and therefore includes the original ending. The director's commentary on both the DVD and the special features on the DVD contained no references or hints towards the ending in which Enslin lives or any explanation as to why the ending has been changed. Most, if not all, theatres originally showed the film with the ending in which he does live.

In the Blockbuster version of the DVD, there are 2 other alternate endings, in one of them, Michael Enslin ends up dying in room 1408, as his publisher and widow are cleaning his apartment in California, the publisher expresses his sorrow and leaves to New York. As the Publisher is entering his office he gets the mail from his secretary, as he looks through all his mail he notices the last envelope, which is from Michael Enslin, the same envelope he tried to send in his supposed awakening in the middle of the movie, the envelope contained a finished novel of his experience titled "1408".

The next version is mostly the same as the original ending except Michael's wife does not hear the recording of Katie as she is in the kitchen cleaning, leaving Michael to experience the moment by himself.

When played on The Movie Network and on Super Écran, the director's cut is shown, instead of the theatrical version.


*John Cusack as Mike Enslin
*Samuel L. Jackson as Gerald Olin
*Mary McCormack as Lily Enslin
*Tony Shalhoub as Sam Farrell
*Len Cariou as Mike's Father
*Jasmine Jessica Anthony as Katie Enslin
*Andrew Lee Potts as Mail Room Employee


In November 2003 and 2004, Dimension Films optioned the rights to the 2000 short story "1408" by Stephen King. The studio hired screenwriter Matt Greenberg to adapt the story into a screenplay. [cite news | author=David Rooney | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117895189.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 | title=Dimension checking into room '1408' | publisher="Variety" | date=2003-11-05 | accessdate=2007-05-06 ] In October 2005, Mikael Håfström was hired to direct "1408", with the screenplay being rewritten by screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. [cite news | author= | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117931616.html?cs=1 | title=Hafstrom to direct '1408' | publisher="Variety" | date=2005-10-25 | accessdate=2007-05-06 ] In March 2006, actor John Cusack was cast to star in the film, [cite news | author=Ian Mohr | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117939468.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 | title=Cusack finds a room in King's '1408' | publisher="Variety" | date=2006-03-08 | accessdate=2007-05-07 ] joined by actor Samuel L. Jackson the following April. [cite news | author=Michael Fleming | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117940923.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1 | title='1408' gets another guest | publisher="Variety" | date=2006-04-03 | accessdate=2007-05-06 ] In July, actress Kate Walsh was cast to star opposite Cusack as the protagonist's ex-wife, [cite news | author=Ian Mohr | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117946620.html?categoryid=1238&cs=1 | title=Walsh's room is '1408' | publisher="Variety" | date=2006-07-11 | accessdate=2007-05-07 ] but she was forced to exit in August due to scheduling conflicts with her role on "Grey's Anatomy". She was replaced by actress Mary McCormack. [cite news | author=Ian Mohr | pruducer Rey Mysterio |=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117948401.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1 | title='1408' books a new tenant | publisher="Variety" | date=2006-08-13 | accessdate=2007-05-06 ] The Hotel Pennsylvania was used for many of the interior and room shots for the film. According to John Cusack, the Roosevelt Hotel in New York was used for some of the exterior shots of the Dolphin. [ [http://summermovies.fandango.com/roadtripmyfav.php?fid=15 Fandango Summer Movies - Movie Tickets and Theatre Showtimes ] ]

References to the number 13

Several places in the movie have allusions to the superstitious number 13. See 1408 (short story) for more on this. The most common reference is the room number itself, 1408 (1+4+0+8=13) as well as the fact that the room is really on the 13th floor (the overhead elevator numbers show that there is no floor numbered 13, and the manager states that the hotel's 14th floor is really a renumbered 13th floor). When Mike first gets the postcard telling him not to go to the room, he writes down that the numbers 1408 equal 13 (to which he remarks "That's cute".). Also, the text on the postcard "Don't enter 1408" contains 13 characters. However, other numbers allude to 13: According to hotel manager Gerald Olin, the Dolphin opened in 1912 (1+9+1+2=13). In one scene, the temperature shows 45-40 (4+5+4+0=13). The plaque on the wall shows the words "14th Floor Rooms. 1400 - 1430" (1+4+0+0+1+4+3+0=13). On the inside of the lock of the hallway door to 1408, the number 6214 can be seen (6+2+1+4=13). The name Michael Enslin itself has 13 letters, and M is the 13th letter in the alphabet. When Mike first opens the Bible, he turns to 2 Samuel chapter 11 (2+11=13). When Mike is trying to get his wife Lily to send police, he gives the address as 2254 Lexington (2+2+5+4=13). This address also contains 13 alphanumeric characters: 4 numerals, and 9 Roman alphabet characters. Even something as innocent as Mike asking the "engineer" to just walk in the room "6 or 7 feet" conjures up this number (6+7=13). When the room falls under sub-zero temperatures, Mike burns photos and playing cards to generate heat. Four cards can be plainly seen, a king (corresponds to number 13), as well as a 6, a 5 and a 2 (6+5+2=13). The only time that the actual number 13 appears is when Olin is taking Enslin to room 1408 and he says that "The owners don't think that 1408 is evil, they just pretend that it doesn't exist like the 13th floor". Also, before Mike sets fire to the room declaring that he is "going to end this", the telephone operator begins to babble numbers and random phrases in a voice that becomes increasingly menacing: "Five... This is five... Ignore the siren... Even if you leave this room, you can never leave this room... Eight... This is eight... We have killed your friends; every friend is now dead..." (5+8=13). Additionally, if Mike and Lily were killed by the room (it tried to lure Lily inside the room), the number of deaths in 1408 would have gone up to 58 (5+8=13).

Director cameos

Mikael Håfström makes a cameo in a deleted scene in which Enslin is on a plane to NYC and Håfström is reading a newspaper.

DVD release

The DVD was released in October with a standard 1-disc edition (widescreen or fullscreen), and a 2-Disc Special Edition with an alternate ending and minutes more of the movie.


"1408" opened on June 22, 2007 to generally positive reviews. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 77% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 154 reviews. [cite web|url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1408/ |title=1408 - Rotten Tomatoes |accessdate=2007-11-03 |publisher=Rotten Tomatoes] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 64 out of 100, based on 27 reviews. [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/1408 |title=1408 (2007): Reviews |accessdate=2007-11-03 |publisher=Metacritic]

James Berardinelli awarded the film three stars out of four, praising it as "the best horror film of the year". He offered significant praise for Cusack's performance as Mike Enslin, writing that "this is John Cusack's movie to carry, and he has no problem taking it where it needs to go". He found the film to be a refreshing experience, believing it "reminds us what it's like to be scared in a theater rather than overwhelmed by buckets of blood and gore". [ [http://www.reelviews.net/movies/f/1408.html Review: 1408 ] ] Many critics believed the film to be far superior to other adaptations of Stephen King novels and stories. Mick LaSalle of the "San Francisco Chronicle" wrote a very positive review, describing the film as "one of the good Stephen King adaptations, one that maintains its author's sly sense of humor and satiric view of human nature". He ultimately believed the film to be "more genuinely scary movie than most horror films." [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/06/22/DDGMVQHUUE14.DTL&ytpe=movies Checkout time? Much sooner than you think ] ]

Several critics, however, found the film to be underwhelming. Wesley Morris of "The Boston Globe" wrote a mixed review, describing the film as "a lot of consonants and no vowels." He went on to compare unfavorably the film to "The Shining", a similar King adaptation, believing "1408" lacked that film's "lunging horror and dramatic architecture." Although he believed the film "conjures a wonderful anticipatory mood of dread in the first 30 minutes," he ultimately believed the film "then blows it to stylish smithereens." [ [http://www.boston.com/movies/display?display=movie&id=9186 1408 Movie Review - 1408 Movie Trailer - The Boston Globe ] ] Rob Salem of the "Toronto Star" awarded the film two stars out of four, believing it to be a predictable, "hit and miss" production. Like Morris, Salem wrote that "Even as haunted hotel King movies go, "1408" is certainly no "Shining". Not even the TV-movie version." [ [http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/228197 TheStar.com | entertainment | '1408': Hoary movie ] ]

Box office performance

In the film's opening weekend, it opened in second place at the box office, grossing $20.6 million in 2,678 theaters. [cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=2007&wknd=25&p=.htm |title=Weekend Box Office Results for June 22-24, 2007 |accessdate=2007-11-03 |publisher=Box Office Mojo] "1408" had a production budget of $25 millioncite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=1408.htm |title=1408 (2007) |accessdate=2007-11-03 |publisher=Box Office MojoBox Office Mojo] . "1408" went on to gross $71.9 million in the United States and Canada. The film has not been as successful in other territories, grossing $58.8 million with a worldwide gross of $130 million as of Feb. 11, 2008.


External links

*imdb title|0450385|1408
* [http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=4430&In=WikE Detailed Comparison between Theatrical release (PG-13) and Director's Cut (PG-13)]

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