The works of Stephen King in the horror genre have gained immense fame both in the form of books and in the form of films. “1408” is one of the top ten adaptations of King’s creations. The plot, the idea, the acting – everything is worthy of excellent ratings!
The main character of the film is the writer Mike Enslin, whose role was perfectly played by John Cusack. At the moment he is looking for inspiration in the supernatural and paranormal. He has already managed to travel around the country and write books about the most terrible lighthouses and cemeteries, now his goal is frightening hotels. Owners often invent “horror stories” to be on the pages of his publications and attract customers.
One day, among the invitations and booklets sent by mail from the hotels, there is a postcard, on one side of which is the New York Dolphin Hotel, on the other – the inscription “Do not enter 1408.” The writer immediately sees: the sum of the numbers is 13, which, together with a secret warning, arouses in him an interest in this place. Ensslin immediately calls to book 1408 in it. In response, only a cold “impossible, impossible” and a sharp break in the call are heard. However, the hero does not retreat.
Exquisite design, crystal chandeliers and marble floors, a crowded lobby and polite employees. The manager Gerald Olin dilutes such a pleasant atmosphere, who refuses the guest to hand over the 1408th. After studying the macabre history of the room at the Dolphin, where more than 50 people died under the most bizarre circumstances, Enslin really got excited about the idea of spending the night there and witnessing something. Gerald’s threats and warnings he stubbornly ignores with his usual skepticism and cynicism. A long dialogue, frightening photographs of the victims and their stories, and as a result, Olin escorts the arriving guest from the elevator to the 1408th.
There is nothing unusual or remarkable in the room, so the manager is accused of lying and the skill of “hang noodles on the ears”. However, when Ensslin examines the rooms with ultraviolet light, everything around is stained with blood. The writer calmly enjoys the presented drink, but not for long. The harbinger of the beginning of the hellish quest was the radio, which turns on the music on its own and starts displaying a 60-minute countdown instead of the time. From that moment on, everything that happens defies explanation: frightening dead, a window falling on your hand, bleeding walls, a thunderstorm and a real flood. All events squeeze the life force out of the hero, forcing them to survive.
At one point, Mike regains consciousness: he is in the hospital, next to him is his wife, who claims that he did not come to New York at all. The writer restores relations with his wife, the “dream” became a long-awaited inspiration that allowed him to complete the book. Only now the attempt to send the book to the publisher ends tragically: everything around is a sinister joke of 1408, the scenery falls off, and the guest finds himself in the wreckage of a familiar room. The last straw is that his daughter appears before him, falling into his arms. After a short conversation, the most terrible tragedy is repeated: the child dies right in her arms, and her body turns into a heap of ashes.
Thus came to an end the first hour of stay in the “Dolphin”. Helpful staff informs by phone that the guest has the right to experience this hour from time to time. An alternative is an emergency eviction: in the reflection, the hero sees himself hanging on a sheet. Obviously, previous occupants always chose death. However, Enslin decides that he cannot “lose” the 1408th: if he cannot leave these walls, then let them disappear with him. Mike starts a fire, the whole room 1408 is on fire.
The meaning of the film
It is impossible to become happy by running away from the problems and tragedies of life. An erroneous reaction to reality gives rise to loneliness, doubts and anxieties in people. Everything that happened in room 1408 was an echo of the inner demons of its guests. The story of the film has 4 endings. This can be interpreted as follows: in the fight against your fears, you can win or lose. Winning doesn’t mean you can still change, and losing doesn’t mean you haven’t tried to improve.
Characteristics of heroes
Mike Ansley is an ardent skeptic. All the stories he writes frighten his readers, and he only looks at it with a smile and does not feel a drop of fear. Mike doesn’t seem to be frustrated by his lack of fame: he sarcastically answers some questions from fans, he always looks bored. Clever, stubborn, “depressed fellow”, as his colleague calls him. He justifies his craving for alcohol with a creative profession.
When it becomes clear that he recently lost his daughter, who died of an illness, many things fall into place. Instead of surviving what happened, Mike runs away from everything, leaving his wife, reminiscent of his daughter. Perhaps the hero deliberately destroys his readers’ faith in the paranormal. Or, on the contrary, he himself is eager to find evidence that after death there is another life.
One way or another, having met with ghosts from his own fears, the writer rethinks his past. Realizing his egoism, his mistakes, he wants to get out of “hell” in order to be reborn. Despite numerous imperfections, the hero also has good features: unlike all previous guests who did not last even an hour in the room, Mike from time to time chooses to fight “pure evil” in order to return to reality.
Gerald Olin is the manager of the Dolphin Hotel. From the few frames in which Gerald was shown, it can be said for sure that he is a responsible and conscientious employee. He is friendly even with problematic visitors, trying in every way to avoid conflict situations. Olin tries to “read” the client in order to satisfy his desires: he sees a cigarette behind his ear – he offers cigars, he knows about the creative craft – he offers expensive drinks.
This man does not try to close his eyes to the problems: his superiors do not care about the horrors that happened to people in 1408, the manager himself decides to stop using it in order to avoid possible tragedies in the future. And this despite the fact that no one knows about most of them, except for him and a few employees. Olin calls Mike’s act “a feat”, because the damn apartments will never be put into operation.
- the phrase “Stay scared” at a reader meeting is from director George A. Romero, who often says it at events and includes it in his personal signature;
- the mentioned “Banality of Evil” refers viewers to Hannah Rendt’s essay “Eichmann in Jerusalem”;
- Haruki Murakami’s novel Sheep Hunt was about the Dolphin Hotel of the same name;
- Enslin’s surf suit bears the inscription Psycho, the title of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous painting.
“1408” is a very high quality, exciting and captivating horror film. The brilliant work of Mikael Hofstrom, who directed this picture, was recognized by both the public and Stephen King himself: with a budget of $ 23 million, the box office was 133 million. The “king of horrors” himself noted the frightening atmosphere of the film, which “works on your nerves”.
Ending variations give the viewer a chance to choose the outcome of the hero’s fate to their taste.
Yes, there are those who consider the work boring or tedious, but the majority remain impressed, not regretting a single minute spent watching.