Based on Stephan King’s short story, “1408” is a horror thriller known for its psychological implications and spiritual themes. Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is an eccentric writer who investigates haunted locations to write about them. Mike does not believe in ghosts and explores these places for fun, which leads him to visit the infamous room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel, New York. Despite the room being unavailable to the public, Mike finds a way to get there. The hotel manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), tries his best to stop him, telling him all about the room’s dark history. But nothing could stop Mike as he has decided to go in. As time goes by, Mike realizes the biggest mistake he ever made.

The movie has four different endings due to its complicated narrative and director’s choice. The first ending was the original default ending that was released in theaters and streaming platforms. However, the director, Mikael Håfström, thought it did not sit well with the audience. He, therefore, shot another ending (director’s cut) where he changed most of the details. Apart from these, two other endings were shot. These endings are significantly nuanced from the original short story by Stephan King, in which Mike survives and becomes a better man. The movie relates Mike’s life to the horrific events happening to him to make it look more coherent.

1408 (2007) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Mike Enslin, a famous author, writes about haunted locations and does not believe in the existence of ghosts. The movie starts with Mike checking into a hotel where the owners give him a haunted room to stay. After staying in for the whole night, he doesn’t suspect any kind of supernatural presence, as he expresses in his book later. While at his book reading event, he receives a postcard from an anonymous source that forbids him from going to room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel, New York. Mike perceives it as a challenge and looks up at the notorious room. He is intrigued by reading several news articles about the deaths that occurred in the room and how it is not available to the public. Mike somehow finds a legal way to book the room and decides to spend a night there.

A Wild Adventure

Mike arrives at the hotel and meets Gerald Olin, the hotel manager. Olin tries his best to convince Mike not to enter room 1408. He offers to upgrade him to a penthouse apartment, free booze and even shows him a file that includes the details of all the deaths that have taken place in the room so that he’ll change his mind. Olin further tells Mike that the latest count of unreported deaths is 56 and that no one survives in the room for more than an hour. Despite his best efforts, he is unable to persuade Mike to give up on the idea and drops him off to his room.

The “Boring” Room

When Mike enters the room, he is less than impressed by it. He records his opinion of the room in his mini recorder. After he settles in, he suspects someone else in the room is moving things around. Suddenly, the clock sets to 60:00, and the song “ We’ve Only Just Begun” starts playing, which gives Mike a jump scare. He starts hallucinating and keeps seeing ghosts of the victims of the room who once killed themselves.

Later, he burns his hand from the hot water in the bathroom and decides to leave the room. However, the doorknob breaks, and he remains trapped inside. He tries to call for help and calls the room service, but he isn’t rescued. Mike waves at the person standing in front of him in the window of the building, only to find a reflection of him. Mike gets a grip of himself only to hear a recording playing on the TV of his wife and their deceased daughter.

1408 (2007) Movie Ending Explained & Themes Analysed
A still from “1408” (2007)

He then finds his father sitting in another room, whom he had left selfishly. Mike decides to escape through the window and goes to the next room. While hanging on the small surface outside his window, he realizes there is no window next to his room and returns to his room again. Mike then video calls his wife, Lily, on the laptop, who is still mad at him for leaving after their daughter died and does not listen much. As they are talking, the sprinkler system in the room breaks, and the laptop short circuits.

A Never-Ending Nightmare

He opens the upper vent and tries to get out from there, too, but gets chased by a ghost-like figure that makes him come back to his room. There is a sudden earthquake in the room, and Mike begins to hear the screams of the people drawn in the painting of a ship hanging on the wall. He slams an object into the painting, and it breaks. The sea in the painting leaks into the room, causing a flood and drowning Mike. When Mike wakes up, he finds himself on the beach on the day of the surfing accident he had earlier.

Mike stays in the hospital after his accident and is paid a visit by his wife, Lily. The two of them talk about their differences. He explains what happened to him and mentions the Dolphin Hotel, which Lily fails to recognize. Lily tells him that maybe it was a nightmare and he should write about it and let it out. Mike also keeps seeing people he spotted at the Dolphin Hotel, such as restaurant staff members. Mike finishes his script and posts it to his publisher. At the post office, the crew stops him from leaving and starts destroying the walls, causing Mike’s head to spin, and he realizes he is still stuck in room 1408.

Mike’s deceased daughter visits him, and he hugs her tightly. Soon, she turns into ashes, and he cries to God for taking her away the second time. The clock resets to 60:00, and he receives a call from the hotel management, who asks him why he hasn’t killed himself yet. He puts the phone down and knowingly looks around. He sets the room aflame to destroy it. The hotel is evacuated, and Lily watches the burning window of Mike’s room from outside the hotel.

1408 (2007) Movie Ending Explained:

What Happens To Mike Enslin?

In the theatrical ending of “1408,” Mike survives the fire and returns to Lily. Lily is not entirely convinced whether Mike’s experience was real or not. Mike and Lily play the damaged recorder that Mike carries to the room and listen to his voice. They both hear their daughter’s voice, which confirms what happened in the room was real. Another version of this ending is that Lily does not hear the voice; only Mike does and gets horrified.

In the director’s cut ending, Mike dies in the fire while the room collapses. At his funeral, Olin approaches his wife, Lily, and offers her a box of Mike’s belongings, which she refuses to take. Olin tells her that Mike did a heroic thing by burning the room so now no one would be hurt by it. He sits in the car and hears a girl’s voice in the mini recorder that is in his belongings. He looks at a girl standing in the graveyard who later leaves with his father. Olin also sees Mike’s corpse in his backseat with a burned face for a second and freaks out. In another scene, Mike’s ghost, whom his daughter later joins, stands in the hotel window. They are both happy, suggesting that he has freed all the ghosts in the room.

1408 (2007) Movie Ending Explained & Themes Analysed
Another still from “1408” (2007)

The other ending of the film does not have a funeral scene; it only has audio that plays over shots of Los Angeles. Sam (Mike’s publisher) and Lily go through Mike’s stuff. Sam reads the manuscript Mike sent and begins listening to the recording. He listens to everything that happens in the room. The door shuts, and Mike’s father’s voice can be heard saying: “As you are, I was, as I am, you will be.”

Are the Events of the Room Real?

All the endings suggest that whatever happened to Mike was real and that he wasn’t hallucinating. When Mike enters the room, he feels like he is losing his mind. Mike sees his doppelganger in the front building and sees his father sitting in a room. He also feels extreme temperatures and drowns in the flood that comes from a painting. It feels unreal to Mike when he wakes up in the hospital. However, in the two endings in which he survives, Mike ends up hearing Katie’s (his daughter) voice. In the other two endings, his publisher and Olin hear Katie’s voice, which means the events in the room are real.

1408 (2007) Movie Themes Analysed:

Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell

This work of Stephen King is known for its references to Dante’s “Inferno,” in which he posits the concept of nine circles of hell. The nine circles consist of various sins that humans commit and for which they will be punished. According to this, Mike dies in the beginning when he has his surfing accident and enters the first circle of hell. Later, he wakes up to find his way to the Dolphin Hotel and enters deeper into hell as he pays for all the sins he committed after his daughter’s demise. The sins in Dante’s circles of hell are all rooted deeply in weak faith. After his daughter’s death, Mike loses his faith and commits many sins that lead him to hell.

Spirituality

The paranormal incidents that occur to Mike result from his loss of faith. Mike’s spiritual beliefs are shaken after he loses the one thing he loves the most. He does not believe in ghosts and the god. Because of this, he loses himself and gives up on his wife and his father, whom he should’ve taken care of. After running away from them, he commits sins and suffers for the life he lived after losing his spiritual connection with god. By the end of “1408,” Mike realizes his sins and decides to find redemption by burning the room to atone for his deeds. The last clip of one of the endings reveals that he has found peace with his daughter. That only happens after Mike pays the price for his sins. The endings in which Mike survives do not reveal whether he ever finds peace or not.

Fear

When the movie begins, Mike has no fear in life. He is carefree and nonchalant. He finds it thrilling to visit haunted places, as he doesn’t believe in ghosts. However, room 1408 treats him differently, and Mike ends up scared for his life. He tries to escape from the room so many times but does not succeed. After ending up in the same nightmare over and over again, he finally lets go of his fear and burns the place for good.

Read More: 10 Interesting Psychological Thriller Movies You Can Stream on Hulu Right Now

Trailer:

1408 (2007) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
1408 (2007) Movie Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
1408 (2007) Movie Genre: Horror/Mystery & Thriller/Fantasy | Runtime: 1h 44m
Where to watch 1408

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