- 1 hr 46 min
Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is an unprosperous, skeptical author who, after the death of his daughter Katie (Jasmine Jessica Anthony), writes books appraising supernatural events in which he has no belief. After his latest book, 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 forces the hotel to allow him to book a stay in the room, referring to a law that any hotel room in New York can be requested as long as it is up to standards. The hotel manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) tries to dissuade Mike from checking into the room, explaining that 56 people have died in the room over the past 95 five years, and that no one has lasted more than an hour inside it. Mike, who does not believe in the paranormal, insists on staying in the room, and asks Olin if he thinks it is haunted; Olin replies that it's not haunted; it's just an evil room. Once inside the room, Mike records on his mini-cassette the room's dull appearance and its unimpressive lack of supernatural phenomena. During his examination, the clock radio suddenly starts playing "We've Only Just Begun", but Mike assumes this is a trick of Olin's. At 8:07, the song plays again and the clock's digital display changes to a countdown starting from "60:00". Mike begins to experience supernatural events, including the window slamming down on his hand, the hotel operator calling about food he didn't order, and spectral hallucinations of the room's past victims as well as of his family, particularly his daughter. Mike's attempts to leave the room are in vain; the doorknob breaks off the door, climbing through the air ducts prompts an escape from the corpse of a former room victim, and climbing onto the window ledge reveals the windows of the other rooms are gone. Mike uses his laptop to contact his estranged wife Lily (Mary McCormack), but the sprinkler system shorts out his laptop. The room temperature drops to subzero when the laptop suddenly begins to work again, and Lily tells him the police have entered 1408, but the room is empty. A doppelgnger of Mike appears in the chat window and urges Lily to come to the hotel herself, giving Mike a diabolic smile. The room shakes violently and Mike breaks a picture of a ship in a storm, flooding the room. He surfaces on a beach, the result of a surfing accident seen earlier, and after returning to a normal life and reconciling with Lily, he assumes it was all a dream. Lily persuades him to write a book about it, but when visiting the post office to send the manuscript to his publisher, he recognizes a construction crew as the hotel staff, and they destroy the post office to reveal Mike is still trapped in 1408, the walls now burnt and broken. A vision of Katie appears to Mike, and after some reluctance, he embraces her before she crumbles to dust. Mike hears the clock radio begin to play and looks for it in the rubble, seeing it count down the final seconds. When the countdown ends, the room is suddenly restored to normal, and the clock radio resets itself to 60:00. The "hotel operator" calls Mike again after the clock resets. When Mike begs to be released, she informs him that he can relive the hour over and over again, or use their "express checkout system;" Mike sees a hangman's noose and has a vision of himself hanged, but refuses. Mike uses a bottle of cognac he received from Olin to make a Molotov cocktail and sets the room on fire. The hotel is evacuated and Lily is prevented from entering. Mike then throws an ash tray at the window, causing a backdraft. Firefighters enter the scorched room, and pull Mike to safety. In his office, Olin quietly says, "Well done, Enslin. Well done." As Mike recovers with Lily at his bedside, he tells her about Katie, but Lily doesn't believe him. The two reconcile and Mike moves back in with Lily. During the move, Lily finds a box of items retrieved from the rubble of 1408. Mike retrieves his tape recorder and after some tinkering, gets it to play. As Lily unpacks their stuff, he replays the conversation with him and Katie. Lily overhears the recording and drops the boxes, staring at Mike in horror. Mike stares at her grimly.