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Film / 1408

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"It's an evil fucking room."
Gerald Olin

1408 is a 2007 Psychological Horror film directed by Mikael Håfström and starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, based on a Stephen King short story by the same name.

Cusack plays horror writer Mike Enslin, who specializes in investigating supposedly haunted houses and other sites of supernatural activity, which he has documented previously in books like Ten Haunted Graveyards and Ten Haunted Mansions. However, these investigations have yet to bear fruit in the form of confirmable sightings, leaving him pessimistic and jaded.

Through an anonymous recommendation, Enslin learns about the Dolphin Hotel, in which no one has been able to stay even a single night (or even one hour) in one particular room - the eponymous 1408. According to his research, everyone who tries has committed suicide or died from anything from heart attacks to drowning.


The manager, Gerald Olin (Jackson), tries to warn him away from staying in that room, to no avail; Enslin is unconvinced by his warnings and tales, preferring to see things for himself. After all, what's the worst that could happen?

The short story has its own work page.

1408 contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The short story ends on a far more cynical note than the movie, with Mike Enslin setting himself on fire rather than the room to escape its horrible influence. He survives with extensive third degree burns, but he lives the rest of his life alone and in fear. His tapes are also completely worthless and don't convince anyone of anything. Everything indicates that the evil room will simply continue to claim victims despite Mr. Olin's efforts to contain it. The film has three endings, none resembling the one in the book:
    • The theatrical version has Mike setting the room on fire to destroy it, getting saved by firemen and finding a tape recorder with his dead daughter's voice on it as proof that the room is supernatural. He listens to it with his wife just before the movie ends.
    • A first alternate ending has Mike still setting the room on fire as well, but dying alongside it, then Sam reading the manuscript of the book 1408 he wrote before the movie ends.
    • Finally, the director's cut has Mike also setting the room on fire and also dying, but this time, it's Olin who listens to the tape with the dead daughter's voice.
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  • Adaptational Badass: Mike's results, as mentioned in the above trope, are far more impressive in the film than in the short story. There's also a weird inversion in terms of Mike's writing career; he's a bestseller in the story, but is struggling in the film to the point that, when he hosts a book signing, he has to explain to the library clerk who he is to get things running.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original story has him in the room for about seventy minutes before he sets his shirt on fire (according to the text: it seems like it would be more like fifteen or twenty). The movie also expands more on Mike's motivations and what his life was like outside of ghost-hunting, and of course this is used to twist the knife further during his stay.
  • Advertised Extra: Samuel L. Jackson's face takes up as much real estate on the poster as John Cusack's. The former has maybe fifteen minutes of screentime, whereas the latter is in every scene (and is often the only character in the scene).
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: For the most part, the room seems content to slowly drive its inhabitants to the brink of madness through slowly escalating its use of incomprehensible alterations to the room or attacking their inner demons. But every so often, it adds a little variety by dispensing with the ambiguity and communicates directly either via a telephone call or, in one case, using the form of Olin as an avatar and conversing with Mike "face to face".
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Subverted. Not only are the vents incredibly cramped, not only does Mike fail to escape, but something chases him in the vents.
  • Alien Geometries: The film nods to the short story with a painting of a ship in a storm which, no matter how Enslin adjusts it, always appears to hang crooked.
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted in the film and done remarkably well, too — at the point in the film where this happens, enough running time has elapsed that you might actually believe the movie was coming to an end.
  • And You Were There: When Mike realizes that the clerk at the post office and the hotel boy were the same person, the illusion starts to crumble.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: In this case, a hotel room.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Mike wanted to avoid contacting Lily while he was in New York. But when he's in a desperate situation, he calls her. While at first dismissive and annoyed, she quickly takes it seriously and calls the police. Unfortunately, the police say the room is empty. Lily is desperate to help Mike, which the Room takes advantage of and creates a doppelganger who begs her to come.
  • Balcony Escape: Mike tries, and fails as the other windows all disappear from the wall that stretches out into infinity.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Enslin was looking for proof of the supernatural. He found it.
  • Big "NO!": In a sense: When Enslin finds himself back in 1408 after the reveal that it's an illusion, he screams "I WAS OUT!". But it fits more in regards to his anguished screams when Katie again dies in his arms.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The French label of the bottle (see Foreshadowing)
  • Bittersweet Ending: Both the theatrical and Director's Cut endings have this:
    • The theatrical ending has Enslin burn down 1408, destroying it completely and escaping his ordeal. He reunites with Lily and moves in with her, finally moving on with a better writing career. While playing his old burnt tape recorder, it plays the recording of when Enslin reunited with Katie, shocking Lily at the realization that the events of 1408 weren't really in his mind.
    • The Director's Cut has Enslin die, but destroy 1408 in the fire. Olin tries to deliver Enslin's items to Lily at his funeral, but fails to do so when attempting to explain that Enslin's actions destroyed the Room. While in his car and hearing the recording of Enslin's encounter with Katie, Olin encounters Enslin's charred ghost, but chalks it up to his imagination. The film then ends with Enslin's spirit in 1408, before being called by Katie and walking to the door and fading away, the sound of a door slamming shut.
  • Blank Book: When Enslin breaks down and opens the Gideon Bible, it's blank.
  • Bribe Backfire: Mr. Olin offers Enslin a bottle of 1939 cognac (worth about 800 dollars), as well as upgrading his room and Knicks tickets in his attempt to keep Enslin out of the room. Enslin accepts the cognac, then says he's still staying.
    Mr. Olin: Goddammit to hell!
  • Cassandra Truth: Enslin is very insistent about staying in 1408, in spite of Olin's warnings against doing so. He should have listened.
  • Cassette Craze: Enslin keeps his notes on a portable tape recorder. In the original short story he states that he found that when camping in graveyards, cassettes were easier to use than paper.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Mike's habit of keeping a cigarette handy for emergencies.
    • At the beginning of the movie, Enslin receives a bottle of cognac from Olin. This is later used to make the molotov cocktail to destroy the room.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: The protagonist has a cigarette stored behind his ear for these types of situations.
  • Compartment Shot: We see the hotel room's mini-bar from the inside when Enslin opens it. He looks baffled and we assume it is because the fridge is empty but it turns out, the fridge's backside is open and leads into the next room from where an illusion of the hotel manager starts to berate Enslin.
    • There are several throughout the film. Other examples include a shot from the inside of Mike's PO Box, the compartment from which the key is produced at the hotel, and the locking mechanism of the door itself.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: The room pushing Enslin over the Despair Event Horizon backfires spectacularly. When 1408 resets and it's clear Enslin's never getting out, he turns into The Stoic, lights up a cigarette and a Molotov Cocktail, and calmly takes a seat for One Last Smoke as the room burns around him.
  • Covers Always Lie: A minor example, but the poster shows an old-fashioned paddle key, as described in the book, with a complex head. The movie features a very ordinary key with the room number attached on a keychain.
  • Dangerous Windows:
    • First, the window that slams shut on his hand hard enough to break the skin.
    • Later, when Enslin tries to escape to the next room over by going out the window, he is unable to reach the expected next window over - and then sees that 1408's are the only two windows within about five miles of otherwise featureless wall. Naturally, the window tries to bite him again on the return trip.
  • Deadly Euphemism: The room keeps asking Enslin if he wants to "check out", i.e. forcefully commit suicide.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Front Desk Clerk talks like this when Enslin takes the phone after the supernatural events happen. Later on, it's revealed to be the Room itself mocking him.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Enslin in the director's cut - he survives in the original short story.
    • The room itself in both cuts. In the short story, it's still in good shape by the end — if rather non-Euclidean at times.
  • Death of a Child: Enslin's marriage fell apart after his daughter, Katie, died of cancer. He couldn't cope with the loss and took up ghost hunting after abandoning his wife so he can regain his faith in the afterlife and reunite with her. The theatrical ending has Enslin and his ex-wife get back together after the experience with 1408.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Enslin reaches this after experiencing the vision of Katie dying in his arms. And the room keeps going in its attempts to mess up his mind.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The movie gives zero explanation of the crazy guy with the hammer Mike keeps seeing. A brief shot implies he's one of the men from the painting of the ship at the sea.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Unlike the short story, Enslin manages to destroy the room in both cuts by burning it down.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Just when Enslin thinks he might have his dead daughter back, she falls limp while he's hugging her - and then to twist the knife further, the radio startles him (again) and she crumbles into ash.
  • Doomed Contrarian: Enslin barely averts this.
  • Downer Ending: The original ending had Enslin dying with the room. Test audiences did not approve, and this ending was reserved for the international releases.
  • Dramatic Drop: At the end, when Enslin is listening to his notes while his wife is unpacking from a recent move. Her reaction to hearing the voice of their dead daughter on the tape is entirely understandable.
  • Driven to Suicide: A number of 1408's victims went out this way, and it tries like hell to induce this in Enslin through sheer psychological torture. It even offers him a noose. How helpful of it. Even for those who don't kill themselves, from the 29 undocumented "natural" deaths, it's implied the unrelenting torment the room puts its victims through eventually causes them to die from sheer stress anyway. These were probably people who went to bed and fell asleep shortly after entering the room, so they didn't have the opportunity to consciously kill themselves.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The "good" news is that there are no ghosts involved. When Enslin refers to a phantom in the room, Olin sharply rebukes him, in the charming way that only Samuel L. Jackson can (see the quote at the top of this page) pull off. This arguably makes the movie even harder to watch. You desperately want something to hate for everything that's happening to Enslin, but hating a room is like, well, shouting at a mini-fridge. The good thing about this is that you're relieved that it's just this one room...
  • Eldritch Location: Room 1408, the Eldritch Abomination mentioned directly above, is a physical place. It messes up the reality of the place every time someone stays in there too long.
  • Earn your Bittersweet Ending: The revised ending has Mike survive his ordeal, albeit injured. He moves to Los Angeles with Lily, where both of them realize that Mike's ordeal was indeed real.
  • Enclosed Space: In the movie, after Enslin has been in the room for a while, the door simply refuses to open. Going out the window doesn't work, and there's something horrible in the ventilation ducts, so that's out. Oh, and the room actively hates him.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Both the Director's Cut and the alternate ending leaves the unsettling implication that burning down Room 1408 didn't destroy it all but simply caused it to instead possess Mike's possessions instead.
  • Evil Phone: "Five. This is five. Ignore the sirens. 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. Six. This is six."
  • Eye Scream: A cleaning lady who found herself locked in 1408's bathroom for four seconds used a pair of scissors to cut her own eyes out. What had she seen? No one knows. In the short story, it was subtler yet in its own way scarier. She simply goes temporarily blind while cleaning the room, and yet she says "she's blind, but she can see the most awful colors".
  • Face of a Thug: Inverted. The room looks rather nice before it goes to hell.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: After Mike really escapes the room, it could be thought that everything he went through was some kind of hallucination, with either a natural or supernatural cause— except that his tape recorder has his daughter's voice on it.
  • Fate Worse than Death: "You can choose to repeat this hour over and over again, or you can take advantage of our express checkout system".
  • Faux Affably Evil: The room itself. It offers Mike, in a very polite manner, the option to take advantage of its express checkout system: showing him a rope to hang himself.
  • Feedback Rule: Happens when a bookstore clerk grabs a mic to announce the hero's autograph session for that night.
  • Fridge Horror: Invoked and discussed by Mike as he settles into the room and prepares his investigation.
    "Hotel rooms are a naturally creepy place, don't you think? I mean, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many of them lost their minds? How many of them... died?"
  • Foreshadowing:
    • By way of Bilingual Bonus: The bottle Olin gives to Mike is named Les Cinquante Sept Décès, which means "The fifty-seven deaths." We learn there have been 56 deaths in 1408. Guess who's number 57.
    • When Mike gets to the 14th floor, he ambles along through the corridors absent-mindedly, not looking where he's going, and inadvertently ends up back at the elevators, right where he started.
    • The lady with the pram and the baby's screams are hints of the death of Mike's daughter.
    • Enslin calls down to the front desk because the room is too hot:
      "I need you to send somebody to fix my thermostat. Room's on fire."
    • The recurring use of "We've Only Just Begun" by the Carpenters.
    • "Burn me alive" written on two separate bricks of walls (see Kill It with Fire).
  • For the Evulz: The room's only motive apparently.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look closely at the Holy Bible right after Mike puts it down when he first enters the room, you'll see that the text on the cover is backwards. This is the first sign that something's wrong.
  • Genius Loci: The room doesn't have anything evil in it. The room itself is evil.
  • Groin Attack: One victim of 1408, as Mike delicately puts it, "turned himself into a eunuch", while having also slit his wrists.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: How the room put the screws to its residents' sanity.
  • Haunted House Historian: The hotel manager knows all the history of room 1408.
  • Haunted Technology:
    • Played With. The reality-warping nature of the titular room affects even electronic devices in there, causing them not to work properly or act strange. It's mentioned that the reason the room is accessed through an old fashioned key (which Mike had sarcastically complimented as a nice touch) rather then a magnetic card like all the other rooms is because of this.
    • The one example where this trope is played completely straight, though, is when Enslin tries to contact his wife via laptop, only for a doppelganger of him to appear in the chat window and goad Lily into entering the 1408.
    • In the theatrical cut Enslin's tape recorder was retrieved from the fire of 1408, and after a moment he gets it working again and it begins to play back his recordings, before jumping to a recording of the conversation he had with his dead daughter. It's unclear what this means — if the room's influence has survived in the tape, if this is all another elaborate delusion and he's still in the room, or if it simply was able to record their voices and is not playing them back.
      • In the director's cut, the tape recorder finds its way to Mr. Olin, who begins listening to it while in his car. He then looks up and jumps upon seeing Enslin's charred corpse in his rear-view mirror, giving him a weary grin. Whether this is the room's malign influence spreading or simply Enslin seeing his last work completed remains unclear.
  • Hell Hotel: Played with. Only the one room, and the owner does his best to explain the risks and discourage most people from going in there. The rest of the hotel is exceptionally pleasant. Hell, even the room (before it goes to shit) looks like a lovely spacious apartment.
  • Hope Spot: The nightmare sequence late in the movie where Enslin thinks he's escaped from the room. This immediately leads to an inversion, where Enslin looks ready to cross the Despair Event Horizon, but when the room mocks him one last time, Enslin decides to set the room on fire. Even though he's prepared to die, he's pulled from the burning wreckage of the room.
  • Horror Struck: Despite Enslin's occupation as an author who writes about his experiences with supernatural places, he is a skeptic and expects a normal stay in 1408. He even blows off the manager's warnings as an attempt to build the mystique of the hotel. To his horror, he soon realizes that the room is worse than he could have possibly imagined.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Enslin, though he was an atheist before his daughter passed away.
  • Hostile Weather: The temperature in the room keeps changing to either hot or cold extremes to mess with Enslin. It eventually starts snowing, forcing him to huddle around an improvised campfire for warmth.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After his narrow return from his failed Air Vent Escape, Mike immediately makes a beeline for the fridge while muttering alcohol under his breath. Unfortunately, the room has long since stopped bothering to be subtle with its machinations and doesn't even allow him this minor reprieve, creating an illusion of Olin taunting him about how he has no one but himself to blame for his situation when he opens the fridge. Luckily Mike still had the whiskey the real Olin had given him and, underlying how badly he's unravelling, he doesn't even bother with a cup and swigs several gulps straight from the bottle.
  • I Warned You: As part of it's ongoing Mind Rape, at one point room 1408 creates an illusion of the manager telling Mike that, among other things, he was the one who sought out the room despite all the warnings and mockingly asks him if 1408 was living up to his expectations.
  • If Jesus, Then Aliens: Mike doesn't believe in the supernatural, claiming even if it was real, there isn't a God to protect them from it. This comes back to bite him hard when, at the near of his rope, he desperately resorts to praying from the hotel's bible only to see that the good book is now completely blank.
  • Inn Security: "Even if you check out, you can never leave..."
  • It Has Only Just Begun: Featuring the Carpenters as the voice of unfathomable evil.
  • It Won't Turn Off: The clock radio, which keeps counting down even after Enslin pulls out the plug.
  • Kill It with Fire: Used in both the short story and the movie to escape the room... but in slightly different fashions. In a "blink and you miss it" foreshadowing, when the post office is being torn down to reveal the room, one of the bricks on the wall has "Burn me alive" written on it. This is also shown when the room is first encased in brick, outside the living area window which is the only one in the room at the time.
  • Kubrick Stare: Mike, in the theatrical ending.
  • Last Unsmoked Cigarette: Literally. Enslin, who has quit smoking, keeps a cigarette behind his ear throughout the movie. When Mike sets the room on fire and expects to die, he lights it up.
  • Latex Perfection: The final nightmare sequence features the best variation ever, executed by the room itself.
  • Laughing Mad:
    • Enslin gets a massive case of the giggles as the room burns around him.
    • Olin also mentions that the maid who was accidentally locked in 1408's bathroom briefly and gouged her eyes out was laughing hysterically when they pulled her out.
  • Lawful Stupid: Enslin uses an old civil rights law to coerce Mr. Olin to let him stay in room 1408 despite the latter's very pointed requests that he not go in there and providing detailed files on the victims as proof that it's too dangerous. However, since Enslin ignores his warnings, Olin is forced to cooperate or otherwise open the hotel to a lawsuit.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Katie Enslin, who dies from an unspecified disease (possibly terminal cancer) a year before the events of the movie, an event that spurred Enslin to travel around the country investigating haunted locations. The room's visions of Katie still alive with Mike in the room really seem designed to go for Mike's jugular.
  • Little "No": "Your wife will be here soon, Mr Enslin. We'll send her right up!"
  • Living Structure Monster: The entire hotel room itself, not just any specific piece of it, is evil. The rest of the hotel is fine though.
  • The Lonely Door: Near the end, a random door appears in the middle of the room. When Enslin opens it, it just shows a black void.
  • Magic Countdown: The clock radio counts down from 60 minutes. Over and over and over.
  • Mind Rape: It is implied that the room peers into the darkest corners of its current occupant's fears, regrets, and insecurities, and customizes itself to whatever nightmares will traumatize them the most. Then it will just repeat the Mind Rape until the occupant kills themselves.
  • Mind Virus: The room starts a slow infection of any of its occupants' minds without them realizing it.
  • Mirror Scare: Mike gets shocked by seeing the reflection of the man with a hammer in his bedroom mirror. He turns around to realize he is alone in the room. The room later tries this again, this time with an image of Mike gruesomely hanging himself, but by this point he's already resolved to burn down the room and is so jaded by everything else he's gone through he doesn't even blink.
  • Missing Floor: The corporation running the Dolphin Hotel believes that 13 Is Unlucky, so they pretend there's no 13th floor. Hence Floor 13 is re-numbered as 14, putting the room of death on the appropriate level (with digits that also add to 13).
  • Mysterious Note: The postcard that starts it all. Really mysterious, since who sent it remains unknown, and Enslin never bothers to ask Olin about it.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: The room changes itself many times to unsettle Enslin, such as the bathroom being replaced by a larger one where his father sits alone, the windows being replaced with walls, and the fridge opening into Mr. Olin's office.
  • Offscreen Reality Warp: Over the course of the hour, many details of the room change, starting subtly with a crooked hanging, but growing increasingly elaborate. Even the varying levels of cognac left in the bottle are likely intentional.
  • Occult Detective: Enslin, in combination with Intrepid Reporter. However, he's never encountered any genuine supernatural force until he tries to stay in 1408.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Enslin believes himself to be this: he doesn't believe in the supernatural, claiming even if it was real, there isn't a God to protect them from it. He even wears a hat at one point with the words "Paranoia is just total awareness".
    • In comparison, Olin is definitely this. He decided after the 4th death under his watch to have the room sealed and forbade any guests to check into it. He has 1408 serviced once a month, under his direct supervision, with maids working in pairs and the door kept open at all times. He tells Enslin that he treats the room as if it were filled with toxic gas, and won't even go near it unless he has to.
    • Some of the staff at the hotel are also fully aware of the dangers of room 1408. The mechanic sent up to fix the thermostat flat out refuses to enter the room, talks Mike through the steps while remaining outside the door and is already down the hallway the second the thermostat is fixed.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Mike tries to escape through the vents, but the room doesn't like that, so it throws a zombie of Kevin O'Malley (one of 1408's first victims) up there to stop him.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: For Enslin, when Katie was dying of a terminal disease, and not only could he not do anything to prevent it, but as an atheist, he couldn't even take refuge in prayer.
  • Parking Problems: The protagonist takes up two stalls with his SUV in front of the post office at the beginning of the movie.
  • The Precarious Ledge: Mike tries to escape The Room by climbing out onto the thin, windy ledge and shimmying into the next room over's window, only to discover that there are no other windows, only an infinite sheer brick wall. He turns back, ending up in a Literal Cliffhanger thanks to the ghost of a woman committing suicide by throwing herself out the window.
  • Personal Horror: The overall schtick of the titular hotel room seems to be dragging guests kicking and screaming through the darkest corners of their own subconscious and beating them over the head with their own doubts, fears, and regrets. Mike Enslin discovers this to his extreme detriment.
  • Precision F-Strike: "It's an evil fucking room."
  • Primal Fear:
    • Notably on the Heights and falling part...
    • And the "Spectre of Death" part as well.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: What the room does to anyone who comes in. Enslin is taunted by memories of his dead daughter and his failed marriage, his father in a nursing home, and just generally tormented by the room's Reality Warper abilities.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Enslin's doppelganger which appears in the chat window on laptop gives Mike a vicious smile after successfully tricking his wife Lily into entering the titular room.
  • Race Lift: Mr. Olin, a white middle aged British man in the story is played by Samuel L. Jackson in the film. It's a very effective transition at that. If some stuffy British guy walked up to you and said 'Don't go in the room!', you'd probably do it out of spite. Now if Samuel L Jackson told you 'Don't go in the fucking room'...
  • Real Fake Door: As soon as Mike realizes how dangerous the room really is and tries to make a break for it, it creates a brick wall behind the front door so he can't leave.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Enslin receives one from his mini-fridge.
  • Reset Button: After subjectively going through weeks of utter hell and paranoia, and the room itself being reduced to a bombed-out wreck, when the timer on the clock runs out the room immediately reverts to the way it was when Enslin first entered it.
  • Room 101: See Psychological Torment Zone above.
  • Schmuck Bait: The postcard Enslin receives, warning him "Don't go in 1408!"
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: The whole movie plays with this concept a lot but especially when the main character (as well as the viewing audience) is tricked into thinking that he escapes the hotel room and has returned to a normal life before he realizes that it was all a vicious illusion. This arguably comes to an end when he burns the place down and escapes, but there's still the feeling that too could possibly be an illusion. Only in the theatrical ending, though. In the director's cut and the other alternate ending, it's clear he burned the entire room down, though at the cost of his life, but what is happening to Olin (director's cut) or Sam (other ending) is unclear.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: After a while, room 1408 cuts off all of Enslin's exits so it can continue tormenting him. The hotel map on the front door changes to show that the room is the only thing that exists inside a featureless black void.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the fridge scene from Ghostbusters (1984).
    • There's a small blink-and-you-miss-it reference to the original short story. When Enslin is walking down the hall to the room for the first time, he is shuffling through his notes. On one page is a line from the original short story from when Enslin first begins to feel the effects from the room.
      "My brother was actually eaten by wolves one winter on the Connecticut Turnpike."
    • "We've Only Just Begun", the song that becomes Enslin's Madness Mantra by proxy, is also played in the insane asylum where John Trent winds up after the events of In the Mouth of Madness (but at the beginning of the actual movie).
    • After the climax and Enslin's escape, he starts seeing the ghosts of those trapped in 1408, including while having lunch in a restaurant in a frame-for-frame shout out to the ending of Misery. Then he finds out he's not escaped after all.
    • Enslin's attempt to find a rational explanation for the strange occurences, described by him as "Let's Encyclopedia Brown this bitch."
    • When Enslin first enters the room, he asks his dictaphone "Where are the rivers of blood?" in reference to another Stephen King adaptation set in a hotel.
    • When a fan asks Mike where he can find a genuine haunted house, Mike responds "Haunted Mansion, Orlando, Florida".
      • the shifting portrait of the ship might also be a Haunted Mansion reference as well.
  • Snow Means Cold: When it gets to freezing in the room, the floor is covered with a layer of snow. The sprinklers were on for awhile, but it should have generated some ice, not snow. But of course, the room's Reality Warper nature can explain such little details.
  • Sound Track Dissonance: "We've Only Just Begun", indeed...
  • Spiritual Successor: Replace "evil hotel room" with "disgraced opera singer's home" and you have Magnetic Rose from Katsuhiro Otomo's Memories.
  • Spit Take: In the movie, Enslin learns why you shouldn't drink anything when staying in a hotel room with a sadistic radio...
  • Spooky Painting: Enslin finds three framed examples of Generic Hotel Artwork that get more menacing as the movie goes on. Specifically, a painting of "constipated English lords" hunting changes to a scene wherein they are attacked by their hunting dogs, a ship being tossed about in on the high seas suddenly has a full crew fighting in vain against a storm, and a painting of a woman and her child becomes a painting of a woman breastfeeding her dead baby.
  • Straw Vulcan: Subverted. Enslin presents himself, to himself and to others, as an atheist with a skeptical, highly rationalistic perspective on the world, but his true hamartia is his arrogance; he dismisses Olin's warnings without really considering them because his preconceptions make them sound to him like superstitious nonsense, i.e., ghost stories. A genuine skeptical rationalist would consider that Olin's experience as the hotel manager gives him a better claim to authority on the subject of the titular room than anyone who hasn't spent a night in it — and, if nothing else, a genuine skeptical rationalist would consider that $800 worth of XO cognac is a hell of a long way to go to put over a ghost story.
  • Suddenly Significant Rule: After Enslin tries to book room 1408 and is told it is unavailable, he consults with his agent and an attorney who confirm that due to a civil rights law, the hotel must allow him to stay in any room he requests, as long as it's unoccupied. It appears that Olin is familiar with this law, because despite his many attempts to dissuade Enslin from staying in the room, he never outright forbids it and eventually hands over the key.
  • Super Drowning Skills: While Mr. Olin elaborates to Mike about the gruesome death record of room 1408, he remarks that one person who stayed in the room died by drowning in his chicken soup. Even Mike is momentarily befuddled at how he managed that.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Enslin counts. Even if he is a skeptic in the supernatural, it should have been disturbingly obvious with the extensive history of mysterious deaths and mutilations that Olin provides him that room 1408, regardless of nature, was dangerous, he still insists on staying the night. Olin even offers him access to all his files on the room's history and suggests that Enslin photograph room 1404 with its identical layout, pointing out that his readers wouldn't even know the difference; Enslin refuses because he want it to be "authentic". It ends up costing him dearly. An argument of Enslin acting this way can be argued that he has become so jaded with desperation of hotels playing off ghost stories, to say his own jadedness with not believing in ghosts and religion, is arguably why he thinks Olin is lying. That being said, considering the amount of evidence against the room, Enslin should have been a lot more wary.
  • Taking You with Me: When Enslin finally snaps, he makes a Molotov cocktail with the cognac given to him by the manager to burn himself and the room. He even says, "If I have to go down, I'm taking you with me."
  • Tempting Fate: As mentioned in the description above, Enslin insisted on staying in the room.
  • That Was Not a Dream: 1408 is such a bastard that it let Mike think he'd been out for a week or more before informing him, nope, you're still here.
  • Together in Death: Alluded to in the alternate ending where Enslin dies; while Mary is watching his body being lowered into the ground next to Katie's, she remarks, "They're together now..."
  • Tranquil Fury: Mike is oddly nonchalant about taking a Molotov to the room knowing full well at the time he was likely to die himself. But a huge amount to this could have stemmed from the fact The Room was smug enough to threaten to take his ex-wife.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Nonhuman version here. Until weird things start happening, 1408 looks like any random (if very nice) hotel room.
  • 13 Is Unlucky:
    • The hotel doesn't have a floor marked 13, to accommodate superstitious guests (actually a pretty common thing in the hotel business). This means that the 14th floor, where the room is located, is actually the 13th floor.
    • 1 + 4 + 0 + 8 = 13. Mike even considers it cute the first time he makes note of it. Needless to say, this sentiment doesn't last.
    • The room also keeps fiddling with the thermostat to extremely hot or cold temperatures, the digits of which always add up to thirteen. He also tells the maintenance man (who refuses to enter the room) that it's only "six or seven feet" to reach the thermostat.
    • The numbers that the phone calls out add up to thirteen in pairs.
    • The Dolphin is at 2254 Lexington. Also, the metal plate inside the door's lock is engraved with "6214." And, the DVD's run time is 104 minutes, 8 seconds (1 + 04 + 8 = 13, or 104 / 8 = 13). The director's cut clocks in at around 112 minutes: 1 + 12 = 13.
    • It came out on the 22nd in 2007. 2+2+2+0+0+7=13.
    • According to Olin, there has been a total of 56 deaths in 1408. Mike was the intended 57th victim, and had Lily come up to the room as well, it would have added up to 58. 5 + 8 = 13.
    • The Dolphin Hotel opened in October 1912, with 1408 claiming its first victim the opening week. 1 + 9 + 1 + 2 = 13.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Shortly after the room starts to play tricks on Enslin, he starts to consider the possibility that he might be dreaming or hallucinating (and wonders if perhaps Olin put a hallucinogenic in the whiskey he gave him). One moment definitely is: Mike opens his fridge to find that it leads into Mr. Olin's office, who berates him for his pointless insistence on staying in 1408; when the camera pulls back, Mike is clearly screaming at a normal fridge. This remains an entirely valid interpretation of the film for most (if not all) of its runtime.
  • Title by Number: It's the name of the hotel room in question.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Takes effect once the voice on the phone offers Enslin the express checkout and he acts completely nonchalant for the rest of the film, such as relaxing on the couch as the place is set on fire.
  • Trash the Set: After Mike seems to have escaped from 1408 and lived a week or so of his normal life, he goes to the post office to deliver a letter, and suddenly all the employees start destroying the place, to reveal 1408 beneath it. Then the timer runs and out and it's like nothing ever happened.
  • Troll: The room starts out with malicious but relatively harmless pranks, like slamming a window on Mike's hand and blasting him with scalding sink water. It quickly gets worse.
  • The Unreveal: In spades. We never learn what the room is, who sent the postcard, or whether Enslin really escaped (in the ending where he does).
  • Up to Eleven: Used shortly before the ending, and with two endings out of three:
    • Near the end, for all versions, you think the room has done its worst to Enslin—tricking him into thinking that he had actually been out of the room for weeks before bringing him right back. Then it does that thing with Katie, and you can't possibly imagine it doing anything more horrible than that, as Enslin looks like a textbook example of a broken man. Then it rewinds to the beginning and tells him he's going to relive the experience over and over and over until he kills himself.
    • The ending of the theatrical release has his wife overhearing their daughter's voice on the tape at the end of the movie, begging to be allowed to stay with her parents, before the room reclaims her. Remember this was the ending the studio forced so it wouldn't be such a Downer Ending.
    • Another ending has Olin, who has seen a lot of the horror the room can do, hearing the dead daughter's voice as one last proof that he was right.
  • Vertigo Effect:
    • Used almost identically to the Trope Namer, when Enslin is looking out his window down the street below.
    • Used again when he tries crawling through the vents.
  • Weak to Fire: This is how the room is finally destroyed.
  • Word-Salad Horror: The room's "conversation" with Mike Enslin is made of random sentences and series of numbers that add up to 13.
    "Five. This is five. Ignore the sirens. 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. Six. This is six."
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Enslin is waiting for the clock to count down to zero, thinking then that he'll be safe. Then the clock starts up again at 60 minutes.
    • And letting him "escape". And showing him his daughter, then ripping her away again.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time is one of the many things that don't function normally in room 1408. At one point, Mike is lulled into thinking it was All Just a Dream, and he goes on with his life for about a week on the "outside" before the room reveals that he never left at all. In truth, he barely spent an hour in there.

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