1408

1408 

Overall Impression – A man who doesn’t believe in ghosts is trapped in a room haunted by them and cannot escape no matter what he does.  Great!

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? — Mike Enslin

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Professional: Trying to escape room 1408. Personal: Healing the relationship with his ex-wife (I think).  Private: Trying to accept his daughter’s dead.

Who’s trying to stop him? — Room 1408 or is it the manager Gerald Olin? He however doesn’t play a role during the struggling part, so I go for the room.

What happens if he fails? — If Mike cannot escape from room 1408, he will die and in the end, his ex-wife with him.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan — Mike Enslin is divorced, his daughter died some time ago and he travels around the country alone to debunk paranormal occurrences.

Wanderer — Inside room 1408, Mike examines the room, and experiences unexplainable things: the radio starts to play music by itself. After ripping the clock’s electrical cord from the wall, the display changes into “60:00” and starts counting down from 60 minutes; When Mike is unable to hear anything, he opens the window to check his hearing; the window slams down, wounding his hand; Mikes wants to leave the room to go to a hospital; however his key breaks off; Mike has visions of his daughter in the hospital before her death; Mike sees his own father in a hospital or institution of some kind.

Warrior — Mike tries to get out of room 1408:  He crawls through the air vents, where he meets a strange monster; he climbs out the window to enter another room, however suddenly all the other rooms on his floor are gone; he talks with his ex-wife via video-chat on his laptop, till the sprinkler system shorts out his laptop.  Later his laptop works again and a person looking like him tells Lili to join him in the room (which would lead to her death.)  The room fills with water; Mike is getting sucked under water and wakes up in a hospital. Free!  No… Suddenly everything around him breaks down and he’s back in the room, the nightmare continues. The clock resets itself to 60 minutes and counts down, starting the hour of hell from the beginning. Mike gets a phone call, asking him if he wants to take the expressway out; hanging himself. Mike says no. The caller tells him that his wife is on her way to join him.

Martyr — Mike doesn’t want his ex-wife to get into the same problems as he has and decides to end this now. He sets the room on fire with a Molotov cocktail, sacrificing himself. (So, in fact, the hotel manager gave him the tool to end everything!) There are two versions of this ending: In the theatrical release, Mike Enslin is rescued, in the director’s cut, he dies. Still, dying or surviving, he made the sacrifice by wanting to die so his ex-wife would be saved.

AND, IN THE END…

I love this movie! I believe it’s well done, although the scene with the monster in the ceiling was, I believe, out of place. It belongs more in a zombie kind of movie than here. Why not just let every exit leading him back in his own room instead of being chased by a monster? And I wonder who sent him that anonymous postcard, but maybe I missed that.

—  André van Haren

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