Why The Creators Of The Thriller 1408 (2007) Abandoned The Director’s Version Of The Ending? All Endings Of The Film “1408”, Plot Analysis, Meaning, Summary Of The Thriller, Analysis, Similar Films.
Genre: Psychedelic Thriller, Horror, Mystery
Year of production: 2007
Directed by: Mikael Hofström
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Jasmine Jessica Anthony
Slogan: “Hotel Dolphin invites you to stay in any of our luxurious rooms. Except one…”
Based on the novel by Stephen King, 1408 tells the story of Mike Enslin, a cynical and self-confident collector of urban horror stories. He considers himself fearless and cool, but, once in room 1408 of an old New York hotel, the writer suddenly realizes that he is in hell on earth. The ending of the film “1408” is so unexpected that it is not immediately possible to understand its true meaning.
Writer Mike Enslin is looking for plots for his books in the most unusual places. He is the creator of “horror guides”, who travels and stops where, according to the assurances of the owners, all hell is going on. Mike is a skeptic and a cynic, he doesn’t believe in ghosts, vampires or anything related to mysticism.
The film begins with him checking into another home hotel with ghosts, which he does not find there, as always. The next day, the writer heads for an autograph session at a bookstore. But there is no one there to line up for his publications. It seems that Mike’s stories are not very popular with the reader. The meeting was attended by only 5-6 people.
John Cusack played the role of Mike Enslin. Frame from the film.
The only book they are interested in is The Long Way Home. It was his first story, an honest and sincere story about himself, his difficult relationship with his father. But the writer deliberately does not want to remember the past, and tells everyone about the book that it is just a fiction and he is not going to return to this topic anymore.
Mike goes to the post office and picks up letters from the mailbox. Among them is a postcard from the Dolphin Hotel in New York. On the reverse side of the only warning message: “Do not check into room 1408!”. The writer is intrigued, he immediately calls his publisher Sam Farrell and says that he plans to rent room 1408 in the Dolphin.
Mike sets out to study newspaper clippings about incidents that happened to the former occupants of the infamous room. He then calls the hotel and says that he would like to book room 1408. He is told that this is not possible. Mike accepts the challenge. Now, by all means, he needs to get into this room.
Arriving at the Dolphin Hotel, Mike meets with manager Gerald Olin. He tries to dissuade the madman from settling in the ill-fated room 1408, but Mike insists. Then the manager admits that in fact there are much more victims who died in this room than the press knows. He tells Mike some creepy stories, but Mike, though impressed by their content, still doesn’t back down. In the end, Gerald gives up. He gives the writer the key, but warns that he himself will not come close to the number.
Entering the room, Mike sees that she is completely ordinary. The hero lies down on the bed, turns on the recorder and begins to describe everything he sees around. He speaks with mockery of those who are so afraid of this number, because there are no fears here at all. Suddenly, the man hears some strange noise behind him. Turning around, he sees that there are two chocolates on his pillow.
Frame from the film.
Here the writer notices that the electronic clock on the bedside table has started counting down from 60 minutes. This doesn’t bother Mike much at first, but as events continue, he becomes more and more frightened. Approaching the window, he leans on the frame, and suddenly the sash itself falls on his fingers. Mike screams in horror, begins to panic, calls the front desk, but they do not seem to hear him.
Mike hangs up, grabs his things and runs to the door. However, no matter how much he pulls and knocks on it, it does not open. The man returns to the bed and sees the old man’s ghost (the room’s first victim) emerge from the wall, walk to the window and jump out. Then another female ghost jumps out of another window. Mike sees a figure with a knife, she attacks him, but suddenly disappears.
Mike is now convinced that he is hallucinating. He looks at the bottle of bourbon Gerald gave him and the candy he ate. He comes up with the idea that with their help he was drugged with some kind of narcotic substance. Suddenly, the TV in his room turns on and scenes from his past appear on the screen.
He sees himself with his wife Lily and their daughter Kathy. These memories drive him crazy, hurt him. Mike climbs out of the window and climbs onto the ledge to reach the next room. But all other windows have disappeared, the writer has to return. Part of the room next to him turns into a hospital room, Mike consoles his wife Lily. Their daughter is seriously ill. Further, the walls begin to bleed.
Mike sees an old man sitting in a chair in the hospital corridor. This is his father. He smiles and tells Mike that soon he will go crazy, just like him. The man takes his laptop and connects the wireless connection. By some miracle, he manages to transmit a video signal to his wife, Lily. The woman is amazed to see Mike and wants to know why, after all this time, he finally contacted her. He asks for help, promising to give an explanation later, and gives his address.
Frame from the film.
Mike tries to get out of the room through the ventilation ducts. He crawls along them for a long time, but again finds himself in room 1408, which is now completely littered with snow. Mike sees more scenes from his past. Together with his wife, they tell their daughter that everything will be fine. But the girl is dying. Mike is angry with his wife for the fact that she only comforted her daughter with stories about Paradise, and did not teach her to fight for life. He has clearly lost the meaning of his existence and is consumed by despair.
Gerald Olin appears in the wall. He tells Mike that he shouldn’t have been so skeptical about paranormal activity and ghosts in his books and speeches all these years. There is always a reason why people believe in such things. Mike tries to reach out to hit Gerald, but finds himself punching the wall. And suddenly his wife contacts him on a laptop. She says the police have entered room 1408 and it is empty.
Mike suddenly wakes up in a hospital in Los Angeles. He sees his wife Lily and tells her that he had an amazing dream about how he went to New York and stayed in an unusual room at the Dolphin Hotel.
Frame from the film.
His wife invites him to write a book about it. The man does just that – he prepares a manuscript describing the events that took place and brings it to the post office to send it to the publisher. Suddenly, the workers begin to disassemble the wall of the building, they destroy it, and behind it the interior of room 1408 reappears.
The man is trapped again. Before him appears another vision – his daughter. She asks him, “You don’t love me anymore?” Mike drops to his knees and grabs Kathy in his arms. He says he loves her, but she dies in his arms. Mike starts crying uncontrollably and falls to the floor. The phone rings. A pleasant voice on the phone suggests that Michael “repeat this hour over and over again, or use a quick way to free himself.”
Mike looks around, sees the noose hanging over the bed, and immediately understands the hidden meaning of this phrase “quickly freed.” But the hero is not going to give up. He takes the bottle of bourbon, which is now full again, and sticks a string into it. He then sets fire to the thread, turning it into a Molotov cocktail, and throws it at the wall. The room is engulfed in flames, but Mike is elated. He believes that he has defeated everyone, even if it means his own death.
Why does the movie have different endings?
The film is interesting because it has alternative endings. There are only four of them.
The first ending is the rental version. In it, after the fire started, Mike crawls under the table. He thinks this is the end, but then a fireman runs into the room and pulls him out. Mike yells not to go inside because “everything is cursed” there, but the firemen ignore him, believing he is delirious from his injury.
Later, Mike wakes up in the hospital and sees Lily next to him. Mike explains to her what happened. Further, the spouses are already in their house. They sort out old things in boxes. Lily wants to throw everything away, but Mike says that “bad memories must not be forgotten, they must be lived with.”
In the things Mike finds a voice recorder that he had with him in room 1408. It turned out that the device was turned on longer than he thought. The man turns on the tape and hears the part where he is talking to his daughter. Lily listens too. She is in shock. They both understand that the number 1408 is not fiction, but reality.
John Cusack as Mike and Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Olin. Frame from the film.
Extended rental version ending
There is also an extended rental version where Mike listens to the recorder alone while Lily is in another room.
But there is also a director’s ending, which was originally presented to the viewer at a test screening. In the story, Mike dies in a fire, and the recorder found in the room remains with manager Gerald Ohlin. When he turns on the tape, he sees the fire-mutilated ghost of Mike in the mirror. At the end, Mike is shown looking out of the window of room 1408. The ghost of his daughter calls to him from behind, and the man goes to her call. Stephen King himself gave the following explanation of the ending: Mike, after death, must be reunited with his dead daughter.
The second option is that after Mike’s death in a fire, his manuscript somehow ends up in Sam’s publishing house. After a test screening, many viewers found the director’s vision for the ending of 1408 to be too dark. Therefore, the ending was reworked, and Mike remained alive. But true connoisseurs of good mysticism agree that initially there was a stronger ending that made you think about many things in life.
Mary McCormack played the role of Lilly. Frame from the film.
The meaning of the film
The protagonist was once sensitive and sincere, a really good writer who can understand people’s pain. Then, from under his pen, the only honest, soul-stirring book, The Long Way Home, came out. But later, faced with personal problems, the loss of a child, discord with his wife, he decided to put on a mask of a cynic and skeptic. He deliberately began to climb into those areas where a reasonable person would not interfere, all the more, ironically and make fun of it.
The essence of the film is that life is multifaceted, there is a place in it for the inexplicable, hidden, and no one has the right to dispute this. Mike took on too much, decided that he was an impenetrable rock, a monolith that was not afraid of anything, that could give its own interpretation to any phenomenon.
Gerald correctly told him, “People have reason to believe in otherworldly powers.” You should not consider yourself the smartest, and the rest – intimidated fools. Fate clearly gave Mike this to understand, as well as to each of the spectators. Do not swear, do not give free rein to your pride, do not deny, do not lie to yourself – that’s what Stephen King and this film teaches.
- The Shining, USA, 1980. One of the best adaptations of Stephen King’s novel. Writer Jack Torrance is hired as a hotel caretaker for the winter, but becomes a hostage to paranormal events taking place within its walls.
- Silent Hill, France, Canada, 2006. Little Sharon has an unknown illness. She constantly repeats the words “Silent Hill”, and the mother decides to go to this place to find answers and save her daughter.
- “Mirrors”, USA, France, Romania, 2008. Ben Carson is hired as a security guard in a former store. After the fire, only strange large mirrors remained in it, but suddenly they begin to change Ben’s consciousness and control him.
- “Secrets of the old hotel”, USA, 2011. Due to its notoriety, the hotel lost its guests and will be closed. Ghostbusters are trying to figure out what is really going on within its walls.