The Number 23

2007 film directed by Joel Schumacher

The Number 23 is a 2007 psychological horror thriller film about a man who becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

Directed by Joel Schumacher. Written by Fernley Phillips.
The truth will find you. (taglines)

Walter Sparrow

  • A week ago, the only thing I thought was out of the ordinary was that it was my birthday.
  • [In the bookstore, first holding the book and taking a look at it] The Number 23. A Novel of Obsession by Topsy Kretts. A heart wrenching odyssey into paranoia. One of the most horrifying metamorphoses ever told. Beware the dog next door.
  • There's no such thing as destiny. There are only different choices. Some choices are easy, some aren't. Those are the really important ones, the ones that define us as people.
  • I'd like two words on my tombstone: what if.
  • Chapter 23. You can call me Fingerling. My real name is Walter. Walter Paul Sparrow. What you've read so far is not the whole truth. Much has been changed to protect the innocent... and the guilty. I once read that the only philosophical question that matters is whether or not to commit suicide. I guess that makes me a philosopher. You can say it was my inheritance. After my mother's death, my father couldn't cope. He didn't leave a note... just a number. That number followed me from foster home to foster home till college when I met her: Laura Tollins. I thought she'd help me forget my father's number. It was a mistake to think I could escape it. I loved her. And I thought she loved me. Until my father's number returned to haunt me. That fucking number... When I circled every 23rd letter of her note... it became clear. The number had gone after me. And now it wanted her. I was right. She was in danger. I just didn't realize the danger was me. What began as a suicide note, turned into something more. Much, much more.
  • Of course time is just a counting system... numbers with meanings attached to them.
  • [talking with his son about his girlfriend] Hey, she's a nice girl. Make sure she stays that way.
  • She had a face that was meant to smile.
  • Once upon a time there was a dog. Lived a life of terror, feared no one. Although his teeth were sharp, and his belly full, his heart was empty. He decided to go on a journey to a land far far away. But he came upon a wooden shack one day with a thin old man inside, and he invited him in. The dog was overjoyed, and that night warm smoke billowed from the chimney above. Oh, what odd smelling smoke this was. You see, the land was China, and in China they eat dogs.
  • To die there in the street would have been easy. But it wouldn't have been justice, at least not the justice fathers teach their sons about. I'll be sentenced in a week or so. My lawyer says the judge will look kindly upon me for turning myself in. Maybe it's not the happiest of endings, but it's the right one. Some day I'll be up for parole, and we can go on living our lives. It's only a matter of time. Of course, time is just a counting system — numbers with meaning attached to them — isn't it?

Robin Sparrow

  • Skeletons can't just get up and walk away! You were right. That man wasn't the killer, the real killer is still out there and he knows dad's onto him.

Isaac French

  • People only pray because they think God will help them if they do.


Agatha Sparrow: You would never hurt anyone.
Walter Sparrow: [whispering in a dark, eerie, but calm voice] How do you know?

Walter Sparrow: [finding a knife in her purse, laughing in disbelief] What's this for, Ag? What are you going to do with this?
Agatha Sparrow: I... I took it to protect us. From... whoever we were going to meet at the mailbox facility.
Walter Sparrow: Intending to kill that poor old man who you got to publish your book? To protect your little secret?
Agatha Sparrow: [Flashback] I'll take care of it!
Walter Sparrow: [Present] He was ALIVE before you sent us away!
Agatha Sparrow: Robin will hear you.
Walter Sparrow: Oh, we wouldn't want that, would we? We wouldn't want our son to know the horrible truth about his mother!
Robin Sparrow: [walks in] Mom? Dad? What's going on?
Walter Sparrow: She's Topsy Kretts; she wrote the book!
Agatha Sparrow: No, it's not true. Now your father's going to put down the knife. Aren't you, Walter?
Walter Sparrow: Tell him the truth.
Agatha Sparrow: Walter...
Walter Sparrow: Tell him... how you took the skeleton.
Agatha Sparrow: Yes, Isaac and I took the skeleton...
Robin Sparrow: You did?
Agatha Sparrow: And I'd do it again! But I did not write the book.
Walter Sparrow: Don't lie! 13 years. 13 years of lies! NO MORE!
Agatha Sparrow: Don't do this to us, Walter!
Robin Sparrow: Mom, who wrote the book?
Walter Sparrow: Tell him who wrote it. [whispering] Tell him.
Agatha Sparrow: ...You wrote the book, Walter.


  • The truth will find you.
  • First it takes hold of your mind...then it takes hold of your life.
  • A number is just a number. Or is it?


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