Mike Enslin, an author who investigates allegedly haunted locales, checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel in New York City, settles in, and soon confronts genuine terror.


July 11, 2024

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Mike Enslin is a cynical and sceptical author of niche books about supernatural events, in which he has no belief. While promoting his latest book in Hermosa Beach, California, he receives an anonymous postcard depicting The Dolphin, a hotel on Lexington Avenue in New York City, bearing the message: "Don't enter 1408." Viewing this as a challenge, Mike travels to The Dolphin and requests room 1408. The hotel manager, Gerald Olin, attempts to discourage him. He explains to Mike that in the last 95 years, no one has lasted more than an hour inside of 1408; the latest count is 56 deaths. Olin repeatedly and impassionately attempts to dissuade and even bribe Mike, but at Mike's insistence and threat of legal action against the hotel, preparations are reluctantly made.

While Mike describes the room's boring appearance and absence of supernatural behaviour on his mini-cassette recorder as the "banality of evil", the clock radio suddenly starts playing The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun", and the digital display changes to a countdown starting at 60:00. Mike begins to see ghosts of the room's past victims, along with flashbacks of his deceased daughter Katie and his terminally ill father. Mike makes numerous attempts to leave the room, all in vain. As the temperature in the room starts to rapidly increase, Mike uses his laptop to contact his estranged wife Lily and ask for help. The heat activates the sprinkler system, short circuiting the laptop, which starts to work again when the temperature drops to subzero. A doppelgänger of Mike appears in a video chat window, urging Lily to come to the hotel room herself and giving Mike a sly wink.

The room starts to shake violently, causing Mike to crash into a picture of a ship in a storm, from which water floods the room. He finds himself reliving a surfing accident from before he entered the room. Recovering in the hospital, he reconciles with Lily and assumes his experience in 1408 was just a nightmare; Lily encourages him to write a book about it. When visiting the post office to send the manuscript to his publisher, he recognises members of a construction crew as Dolphin Hotel staff, who start destroying the walls, revealing that Mike is still trapped inside 1408. Katie's ghost confronts him, and when the countdown ends, the room restores itself and the clock radio resets to 60:00.

A female voice calling herself "hotel operator" calls Mike. Mike asks why he has not been killed yet and she informs him that guests enjoy free will; he can relive the past hour over and over again, or use their "express checkout system". A hangman's noose appears, but he refuses to give in. Mike improvises a Molotov cocktail and sets the room on fire. He then lies down and laughs in victory upon destroying the room. The hotel is evacuated and Olin, in his office, praises Mike for his actions.

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