Thursday, October 4, 2007

What happens in the alternate ending of 1408

1408, the surprise horror hit of the summer (starring John Cusack) is now out on DVD, and with it comes an extended director's cut, which includes an alternate ending. In addition to a feature commentary and several featurettes, the 2-disc set offers both the theatrical version and the extended version.

So what happens in the alternate ending? (SPOILER ALERT) As with the regular version, John Cusack decides to light room 1408 on fire to destroy the evil and himself. He ends up surviving - supposedly - but in the extended version, he clearly dies. Samuel L. Jackson makes an appearance to tell Cusack's widow that the man freed his hotel of a horrible evil, but when he gets back into the car after the funeral, he sees a burned face of Cusack in his rearview mirror. Of course, as one might expect, when he looks back, no one's there. Jackson also listens to the damaged tape recording Cusack made and hears the voices of ghosts, etc.

Ultimately, the film ends with a depressing shot of Cusack standing in the scorched room 1408, clearly still trapped for all eternity. His daughter calls for him and he succumbs, vanishing through the door. In the end, the hero loses and is forced to suffer in Hell forever.

The ending is okay, though I can't say it's an improvement over the theatrical release. The scene with Jackson feels a bit loose, and the moment when he sees a ghost in his rearview mirror is rather cliche, unnecessary and doesn't really fit in with the rest of the movie.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it does, though. Maybe Jackson has spent enough time in the room that it has affected him in the same way it affects all. Cusack was haunted specifically by demons of his own making. Maybe Jackson now sees Cusack as a demon of his own.

I agree with your assessment that the theatrical release was the preferable ending. I think the same thing happens in the end (the Room wins), but it was more satisfying/chilling in the original.

Anonymous said...

has anybody seen the ending where cusack was saved by fire brigade he is at home with his wife and they hear their daughter's voice on tape?
Is this number three ending?

Erik Samdahl said...

Isn't that the regular ending?