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Michael "Mike" Enslin is a cynical, skeptical author who is estranged from his wife Lily after the death of their daughter Katie. Mike writes niche books evaluating 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 arrives at 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 Room 1408; the latest count is 56 deaths. Olin attempts to dissuade and bribe Mike, but Mike insists so preparations are reluctantly made. Inside the room, Mike describes on his mini-cassette recorder the room's boring appearance and lack of supernatural behavior. The clock radio suddenly starts playing "We've Only Just Begun", a hit song by The Carpenters and the digital display changes to a countdown starting from "60:00." Mike begins to see ghosts of the room's past victims, followed by flashbacks of Katie and his sick father. Mike tries to leave, but all attempts are in vain. Mike uses his laptop to contact Lily, asking for help, but the sprinkler system short circuits his laptop. The room temperature drops to subzero when the laptop suddenly begins to work again. A doppelgänger of Mike appears in a video chat window and urges Lily to come to the hotel room herself; it gives Mike a sly wink. The room shakes violently and Mike breaks a picture of a ship in a storm. Water pours from the broken picture, flooding the room. He surfaces on a beach and relives a surfing accident seen earlier in the film. His life continues from this point, and he reconciles with Lily.

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