PDA

View Full Version : 1408 - Review Thread


Fanible
06-23-2007, 04:10 PM
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL290/1474741/7827219/261520603.jpg

Release Date: June 22, 2007
Director: Mikael Håfström
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
Rating: PG-13 (for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language)

1408 was definitely a change in the thriller/horror genre that has been pumping out dozens of original and remake content. It seems to be one of the more popular genre to produce as they come out nation wide, with unknown actors, semi-known actors and yet always bring in profit, despite the majority being decent at best. It's no wonder that any time one is advertised, avid movie goers take only a slight interest, but most tend to shrug them off.

The trailers for 1408 interested me enough, but personally, I was yet again ending with a shrug, thinking it would be just like the many other dozens that come out every few months. In fact, I would have probably not even seen it in the theatre if it wasn't for the good word of mouth it was getting from all the early previews, which was surprising to say the least.

So did the film live up to all the positive buzz? Yes and no. It was not the break through thriller I was hoping for, but it was definitely a good film, and one that I'm glad Cusack could be apart of.

1408 has plenty of actors in it, including Samuel Jackson (the hotel manager), Mary McCormack (Cusack's ex-wife) and even a cameo by Tony Shalhoub (Cusack's publisher). The main star here is John Cusack all the way, though, who plays the cheap writer Michael Enslin, who has been making his living basically writing books about haunted locations, which he over-exaggerates just to make his books more interesting, although he doesn't exactly believe in spirits and/or has yet to encounter anything substantial in his eyes. The film wisely sets you up by starting you out seeing how he does his business and selling his books. I was actually thinking before the movie started that I hope they start out showing him check out some other "haunted" place before he decides to go off to this room he hears about. The setup is very nicely done.

Anyway, backing up here, I say all the way, because Cusack makes up a good 70% of the film practically alone, and while some critics have downed him and his recent run of mediocre features, I thought he delivered extremely well here. You have the thrills and his insanity enduring, and he can lighten the mood just slight after something crazy with an amusing observative line in his crazy situation. This is perfect in a film like this because lightening the mood will take you off guard for the next "scare".

Is the movie scary? Again, yes and no. There are a few shocks and jump sequences, albeit some not making much sense in the context of the "story". Most is just very disturbing and is there to mess with your head, just as it's messing with his. The observation that the film is less a horror movie, and more psychological thriller is correct in that you're basically just watching a full-length feature of a man going insane, and taking you right along with him.

Does the movie make much sense? No... not really. You will probably have a good time here due to the uneasy nature alone, but if you think too much about it, you'll see there isn't much to it. Indeed, I would have liked more explanation as to the room's origin, and how it first started getting to this demonic form. Being able to find out that perhaps the first death/suicide or two that occurred in there maybe started a wave of evil that would sweep up anyone that stayed within. Sure, that would make sense, but nothing like that is explained. All we know is that as soon as the hotel was built, people that stayed there started dying. There were also events that while seemed insane, there were some that seemed very physical, and characters or ghosts seen you'd have thought would be explained at some point, to give them a little more validity in what exactly they were doing (besides the obvious).

*SPOILERS*:
The film did end up having a or some "false endings". I didn't find it poorly done, but then again I knew the first time it happened, immediately upon it happening, that it was fake what I was seeing, which I really hate the critics for giving away. I did not read any reviews, but I saw a couple headline previews for reviews (IE from rottentomatoes.com), that gave it away. So instead of wondering what was going on and thinking maybe he was dragging an evil with him, I instead knew that it was actually just more foolery on the room's part, thanks to those too careless to realize that mentioning that there's a "false ending" spoils part of the film.

The ending, was semi-satisfying. It just kinda left you hanging, but it was alright, and makes sense as long as you don't start thinking that there might be far more to the picture. Some may argue that he's probably still in the room, but I really don't see any indication as such. However the fact that he was able to just easily burn the room in itself seems far-fetched, considering so much he saw, including the room in ruins and bricked windows and doors, was all an illusion. What's to stop the room from making him think that the fire he was starting was an illusion as well?

That aspect was the one part that annoyed me the most, but the very ending itself I'm not too bugged by, at least in that I'm not thinking that it might all still be an illusion. It was just an unsettling ending where his tape proved he wasn't crazy. What he saw and heard really did happen. That's basically how I'm taking it.

Lastly, I'm going to assume that the Michael Enslin's daughter was raped and got AIDS? It never really explains what she has or what happened to her, but in the context of their conversations and her short life span, that's the first explanation that popped into my head. I'm not sure why it was felt there was no need to bother mentioning it though, or whatever it was.

The Bottom Line?
All in all, I'd say it's worth a look see. It doesn't, in my opinion, have great replay value. I could probably find myself bored attempting to watch it again knowing when and how everything happens, but for a one time view in the theatre, I would say it's worth it. It's not going to go down as one of the greats (Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, Se7en), but it's a definite welcoming change when you consider the very unsettling run of many mediocre "scare films" that are at every turn, and most just try with gore and freaks. This is no Saw or Hostel, either, mind you. It's not going to scare or freak you out in the way of shocking and disgusting imagery. But what it does do, it does it pretty well, which is to unease, confuse and disturb.

8 / 10

iv3rdawG
06-23-2007, 04:37 PM
I'll post it again.

Only one. Anyway, the movie was great. The first act was brilliant. The whole setup to him actually entering the room was just really entertaining. Cusack was perfect for the role and Sam Jackson was good for the 10 or so minutes he was in it. 8.5/10

Daniel
06-23-2007, 05:06 PM
John Cusack is my favorite actor for a good reason: he's an amazing actor.

In "1408" we see him portraying campy haunted hotel author Mike Enslin who is troubled by some demons from the past. These demons are further explored to an extent, but not enough to detract from the main purpose of the movie: to display a degradation of the human mind when trapped in a circumstance one previously thought impossible.

The irony is that Enslin is an author who makes money writing books about haunted houses and hotels but he does not believe in ghosts himself. Intrigued by a vague postcard from a prestigious hotel in New York, he finds himself having to threaten a lawsuit in order to stay in room 1408, a room responsible for 56 deaths since the hotel opened in the early 1900's. He gives the hotel manager [portrayed briefly by Samuel L. Jackson] a hard time because he perceives all of his warnings as mere dramatic shenanigans since Enslin is convinced ghosts do not exist.

Time passes, however, and odd things start happening in the room. Enslin records his usual cool, cocky musings on his tape recording passing off the whole ordeal as an intricate charade. As time passes and the events in the room transpire, however, Enslin finds himself face to face with the demons of his past and realizes he is indeed inside his own personal nightmare.

The acting is extraordinary. Cusack has to carry the movie on his own shoulders since he is the only person on-screen for the majority of the film. He does it well and handles all his reactions with ease.

One thing you have to keep in mind when viewing "1408" is that it is based on a short story by Stephen King. Stephen King wrote a few books which dealt with the affects of alcoholism on the human mind. The most renowned of these novels was his novel "The Shining." The book itself was the story of the degradation of the main character, Jack, as he finds himself isolated in an abandoned hotel with a room full of liquor, the demon he defeated earlier in his life.

Enslin seemingly deals with the same demon as a dependency on alcohol is prevelent in each act of "1408." Towards the end of the film the viewer is likely to ask "was this all real or a figment of Enslin's drunken imagination?" The clever ending answers this question for the audience, though, and I left feeling satisfied.

While not deserving a perfect rating of 10, the film was great and a good, fresh change in the horror genre as of late.

8/10

Jack
06-24-2007, 12:57 AM
Not too much to say that hasn't already been said, other than Sam Jackson delivers one of his best lines in a very long time. From that point on, I was totally in the movie. While it has its misteps, it is one of the few movies in a long time that I really didn't have any idea where it was going to go next.

Spooky ****. Stephen King is a clever bastard.

B+

straightupridah
06-24-2007, 02:18 AM
B+ as well or maybe an A-. Btw, I'm thinking his daughter possibly had leukemia.

MovieBuff801
06-24-2007, 08:25 PM
The Hotel Room From Hell

by moviebuff801

"1408" is a breath of fresh air compared to all of the other horror films that are constantly pedaled out by studios these days. Although I do not think "1408" really falls under the category of "horror"; the film is essentially a psychological thriller at the most, with elements resembling a horror film scattered about here and there. But it certainly is creepy, after all, what would you expect from a movie adapted from a short story by Stephen King?

But what separates "1408" from all the other blood-soaked and gross-out horror pictures is that it has a message. The movie says that what we should really fear are bad memories, instead of ghosts and goblins. Bad memories plauge our consciousness if we allow them to consume us, and if we let them, then they will haunt us for the rest of our lives. This is what author Mike Enslin (John Cusack) faces in the film, and he must face the trauma of his past, or be destroyed by it.

When "1408" opens, we meet Mike Enslin, a horror author who is skeptical about the notion of ghouls and demons inhabiting desolate locations. Enslin travels to many reputedly haunted houses and hotels, debunking the myths that plauge them. He does not believe in the afterlife, but wants to because of the tragic loss of his young daughter.

"Nothing would make me happier than to experience a paranormal event," he says. So when Mike receives a postcard one day from the infamous Dolphin Hotel in New York warning him not to stay in room 1408, he jumps at the opportunity to stay there. After researching the hotel room's notorious past, Mike travels to New York with every intention of becoming the latest tennant of 1408. Mike meets first with the hotel's manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), who is adamant that Mike does not stay in the room. Olin tells Mike about the 56 deaths that have occurred in 1408, 22 of them natural. But, Mike will not be convinced, and takes the key to room 1408, discovering shortly thereafter that he should have heeded Olin's warnings.

The dialogue between Cusack and Jackson is part of a magnificent build-up to Cusack actually entering the room that comprises most of the film's first half hour. And when Mike Enslin finally enters the "evil f***ing room", as Olin so bluntly puts it, we enter as well with no hopes of an escape any time soon. "1408" certainly delivers plenty of jump-in-your-seat moments, but the thrills and chills are not so "Stephen King-ish" as you might expect. "1408" mainly works because it confines itself to one location, one that is truly terrifying because it feeds off your fears. The fright of this movie is mainly psychological; Cusack's character starts to lose his mind gradually during the course of the movie, and he takes us with him.

Cusack, a truly wonderful actor, is given the task of carrying most of the movie by himself, and he succeeds tremendously. Cusack brings a wry sense of humor to Mike that makes him seem more human and definitely more vulnerable. Another interesting quirk of Mike Enslin is that he repeatedly makes narrative observations into his trusty tape recorder, something that a real writer would do. And when the strange goings-on begin to happen in room 1408, it makes the movie all the more effective because we have spent time getting to know Mike by that time and actually care about what happens to him. This is certainly unfamiliar territory for Cusack, but he proves that he knows what he is doing.

The only thing restraining "1408" from being a truly great psychological thriller is that at times, the film does become a little predictable. But I must commend it for being so unpredictable for most of its 1 hour and 34 minute running time. Indeed, there's a moment in the movie where you think everything is over, only to be jerked back into things, something I was most grateful for. Instead of blood and guts, "1408" relies more on the fear evoked from the deepest, darkest corners of our minds; something that makes the film all the more engrossing.

I must admit, "1408" does parallel another recent Stephen King adaptation, "Secret Window", in the sense that they both center around authors who are going insane. But "1408" is satisfyingly creepier than "Secret Window", even though that particular Johnny Depp vehicle is still very good. "1408" succeeds because of a tight script, an amazing one-man performance by John Cusack, and some genuine chills.

"1408" is definitely worth checking into.

MY RATING: ***1/2 (out of four stars).

Tornado
06-26-2007, 03:05 PM
I just got back from it with my brother. I thought it was pretty good, Cusack managed to do a pretty good job all by himself without hamming it up too much. The story was pretty solid, but like Fanible said, there were times when something would happen that didn't seem too relevant. I thought the ending had a few problems, but a goofy three minutes out of a 90 minute movie isn't a big deal.

While I didn't really think the film was scary at all, it drew me in almost immediately, which kind of caught me off guard. As far as Stephen King-based films go, this was much better than Dreamcatcher, but not quite in the same realm as his better affairs - The Shawshank Redemption or The Shining.

8/10

Dracula
06-27-2007, 03:33 PM
1408 (6/22/2007)
Stephen King may be the undisputed leader in the world of horror fiction. Even the best masters of horror cinema like Wes Craven and John Carpenter can’t claim to be remotely as iconic or consistently excellent as the best selling author is within the genre. Few authors have had as many feature films made about their work than King, nearly fifty feature length theatrical and made-for-tv movies have been made from his work. The adaptations of King’s work that Hollywood has been putting out are inconsistent to say the least: for every The Shining, The Green Mile, and or Misery there’s a bomb like Thinner, Maximum Overdrive, or The Mangler, and for every one of those there’s a middle of the road moderate success like Secret Window, Hearts in Atlantis, and Apt Pupil.

Hollywood loves adapting King’s work so much that they’ve pretty much run out of novels to adapt. The new trend in making King works into movies is to adapt his short novellas and short stories into feature length movies. Interestingly these story adaptations generally haven’t been any more or less consistently successful than the adaptations of the novels. It’s interesting how different an adaptation of a short story can be than of a novel, rather than cutting down a story one must build up and expand upon the initial framework provided by the written work. Such movies are less reliant on King’s talent and more reliant of the talent of the screenwriter with the unenviable task of out King-ing King. The new Stephen King adaptation 1408 was made by film-makers who were up to that challenge.

The film revolves Mike Enslin (John Cusack), a writer of psudo-non-ficion books about the nights he spends in places that are supposedly haunted. Unbeknownst to his readers the nights Enslin spends in these locations are quite uneventful. Enslin is in fact a closet-skeptic, he advises one enthusiastic fan that his best place in America to spot a ghost is in the Haunted Mansion in Orlando, Florida. Enslin, an alcoholic writer who recently lost a daughter to an unspecified disease, is currently working on a book about haunted hotel rooms when he hears about the perfect haunted place to put in the last chapter of his book: Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York where 56 people had supposedly been killed by an evil force that resides in the room. Upon his arrival at the Dolphin, Enslin is greeted by the hotel’s manager Mr. Orlin (Samuel L. Jackson) who begs Enslin not to go into the room because “no one has lasted more than an hour in 1408.” Despite Mr. Orlin’s warnings, Enslin refuses to be turned away. Orlin finally gives in and lets Enslin into the room, but it becomes readily apparent that there really is something very wrong with room 1408.

1408 was directed by Mikael Håfström, an unproven Swedish director whose English language debut, Derailed, opened to mostly negative reviews. Håfström proves here that, when given better material, he does have a promising career. But it is with the actors, or rather actor that the real credit is due. Once Enslin is in the room the film basicly turns into a one man show with John Cusack holding the only major speaking role. As such, much of the movie lives or dies by the quality of Cusacks acting. Cusack meets this challenge with a tour-de-force performance that single-handedly makes the movie worth seeing. Samuel L. Jackson is also very fun in his brief, but memorable, role.

King’s short story was one of the best in his collection Everything’s Eventual. The story was largely a tribute to the early twentieth century horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. The Enslin in the book resembled the one here, but this version of the character has been expanded. The writing team cleverly expands Enslin to be more like a typical King character, he’s an alcoholic writer who’s lost a child. Enslin is a much better developed character than the victims to be in most horror movies. One really begins to feel they know him well by the end of the movie.

The film isn’t the scariest or most tense thing you’ll ever see, but it does have a number of good jump scenes. Many of the tricks the room uses to torture Enslin are really interesting, most memorably a McCabe twist on Harpo Marx’s mirror sketch. The real terror here is psychological, one really gets into Enslin’s head and feels for him during the maddening emotional rape the room is trying to drive him to suicide with. Also chilling is the history of the room which Orlin describes to Enslin while trying to persuade him not to stay in the room.

The movie is not perfect. The order in which Enslin tries to escape is a bit loopy, Enslin tries to escape through the vents only after he tries climbing out the window to the next room. There’s also twist toward the end that is interesting but ultimately unnecessary. This twist breaks the claustrophobic atmosphere, and it takes the movie a while to recover, which it does just in time before the emotional climax. The ending was also a little bit too easy.

1408 may not be “extreme” enough for the new generation of horror fans. But it is sometimes refreshing in this era of torture porn to see just how effective rattling chains in a haunted house (or hotel room) can be.
***1/2

Tzarinna
06-30-2007, 06:52 PM
I thought this movie was great. I'd really like a bottle of that $800 hooch. I loved publishers office and the hotels decor. Cusak has once again proven how amazing he is. Bravo!

rosncranz
07-01-2007, 07:01 PM
Well I pretty much agree with what everyone else is saying, but I will add that I thought some of the "happenings" were too out there. What ever happened to creepy noises, scary shadows, and just normal ghosts? Aside from that complaint of wanting just a more straight-forward ghost story-can't critique the film on the movie it's not-the film was a really nice change from the garbage that is the horror genre as of late.


Also I just want to say I hate Stephen King. I have picked up a handful of his books, never got into them and never finished any, except The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which is his best book that I have read. (Yes I know I am in the minority here) The thing that I hate about King is that he has a brilliant imagination and brilliant ideas...but then ruins them the vast majority of the time. They always start as interesting and engaging ideas with awesome characters and by the end they are bloated over the top cheesy b-movie sounding stories. He makes me so mad!

8/10

shained
07-02-2007, 10:24 PM
Really good film which gave me more than a few frights and will stay with me for a while!

Its amazing reading everyones review of the film and all saying it wasn't scary yet couple of lines down mention how it gets in your head and how pyscological it is. Thats what it should be known as a Pyscological Horror because that's what it does, for me anyway, gets in my head and that is when a film truly scares me when it can mess with my head.

To me this is more scary than jump-out-your-seat scares which affect you for a moment then they're gone. Dont get me wrong this film has a few in your face scares some that work **** myself when he's looking at the reflection of himself and the mad guy attacks him and some that don't in the vents thought that bit was a little silly. It is the torture within his own mind that draws you in and makes you as rattled as he is. As people have mentioned his character is really fleshed out making him believable and making the viewer care for what happens to him, this is essential imo for a horror to work.

As Dracula mentioned in his review there is a moment in the film where a lot of the tension and fear that drives the film is taken away, this really affects the film and stops it from being considered a great horror. It takes away the emphasis of the movie and really draws you away which i felt was to the films detriment as it takes a while to get back into the swing.

Also as many have mentioned the acting is great even though that can really only be attributed to one person, John Cusak. Sam Jackson has a great cameo with, also mentioned earlier, a great line but his role is too short to sing his praises too highly and there isn't enough screen time for anyone else to shine.

The film is handled almost perfectly by the director with only a few obvious scares and the mistake in dropping the tempo as i mentioned before. I, it seems like i'm in the minority, also loved his other work Derailed. Thought it was criticized harshly and was a really good film. I expect a lot more from Mikael Håfström in the future and hopefully this film will resurrect Cusaks career

8/10 really good movie with geniune scares which get under your skin.

At the end i thought that yes he was still in the room but his wife was there as well. I belive that she had come like he had asked and that, either one of these 2 am not really sure which 1 i believe more. That they are both trapped there or that he did in fact burn the room but with both of them in it so they could join their dead child.


At the time of watching i felt no indication that the girl was raped, but upon reading your idea i remembered a scene where she says HE wont let me stay. Obviously this could mean the evil room was a he or it could be what you mentioned.

quiksilver022
07-04-2007, 06:31 PM
1408 Puts Torture Porn To Shame

The past few years have been filled with blood guts and gore torture porn that doesn't so much scare the audience as it does just gross them out. But through it all, Stephen King knew what the creators of 'Saw' and 'Hostel' didn't: true horror exists in the mind.

John Cusack is perfectly cast as a bargain-bin author of books such as '10 Haunted Hotels' and '10 Haunted Lighthouses'. He's also an alcoholic who likes to surf, so nobody can say that the characters here are cliched or recycled. His past is a dark mess that he's afraid to confront, but entering Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel forces him to face it. Sam Jackson makes his 1402984th cameo appearance as an eerie hotel manager, cautioning Cusack's character Michael not to stay in the room.

There are plenty of false leads and phony endings that will throw you off-guard, which always keeps you on your toes. The special effects were spooky, to sum it up, and the acting was spot-on. It's emotional, it's terrifying, but most of all, it's entertaining. And let's face it, that's all that really matters.

Score: 8.0/10

quiksilver022
07-04-2007, 06:33 PM
The daughter was NOT raped. I can sort of see why you might have thought that, but definitely not. He says, "What kind of sick God would do this to a little girl?" NOT "What kind of a sick GUY would do this to a little girl?" Look at her, she clearly just had some sort of terminal illness.

SaltyDog
07-10-2007, 09:33 PM
1408 Puts Torture Porn To Shame

The past few years have been filled with blood guts and gore torture porn that doesn't so much scare the audience as it does just gross them out. But through it all, Stephen King knew what the creators of 'Saw' and 'Hostel' didn't: true horror exists in the mind.

John Cusack is perfectly cast as a bargain-bin author of books such as '10 Haunted Hotels' and '10 Haunted Lighthouses'. He's also an alcoholic who likes to surf, so nobody can say that the characters here are cliched or recycled. His past is a dark mess that he's afraid to confront, but entering Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel forces him to face it. Sam Jackson makes his 1402984th cameo appearance as an eerie hotel manager, cautioning Cusack's character Michael not to stay in the room.

There are plenty of false leads and phony endings that will throw you off-guard, which always keeps you on your toes. The special effects were spooky, to sum it up, and the acting was spot-on. It's emotional, it's terrifying, but most of all, it's entertaining. And let's face it, that's all that really matters.

Score: 8.0/10

Well, I am glad you like it but for me this has to be one of the most disappointing films of the year and I was highly anticipating this film. The film is a mess with a story that makes as much sense as the main character being an expert in staying in haunted house but after just two mild but weird occasions goes berserk with fright in this meaningless and confusing story that doesn't make any sense from the start to the finish. Its silly and ridiculous and more laughable than terrifying, but I suppose many will make more of it than what is really there. As for Jackson he just shows up in a couple of scenes to say "well done mr. whatever the name of the Cusack character was." This is how much the movie impressed me. I score it a weak 3 out of 10.

MovieBuff801
10-07-2007, 09:11 PM
I recently bought the 2-Disc Collector's Edition and I've now watched both versions of the film. Something that surprised me was that this movie got better with each viewing; I'm now actually changing my original star rating (***1/2 out of four) to a well-deserved ****. After having seen "1408" 3 times now, I can most assuredly say that this is easily one of the best films of the year.

Yes, "1408" is one of the best films so far this year. It's because of not only John Cusack's riveting performance as a man progressively losing his mind and being terrified by his inner demons and bad memories who takes us along for the ride, but also because of the refreshing feel the film has as a horror picture concerned with chills and thrills rather than screams and yells. Also, the film's message and portrait of a parent mourning a dead child seems to ring true, even though I don't even have a kid. In addition to Cusack's performance being engrossing and great, it's also heartbreaking at the same time because we realize that everything his character does now is a way of trying to conquer his grief over his dead daughter.

And the more I think about the theatrical ending, the more I realize how many layers there could be to it. For example:

Maybe Cusack really isn't out of the room. After all, the room already tricked him into thinking that and suddenly pulled the rug out from under him...so why couldn't the room do it again? I remember a line in the film that went something like: "Even if you escape 1408, you'll never really be out." Plus, toward the end the voice on the phone said: "You can check out now or choose to live this hour over and over." What if Enslin is still in the room, reliving the hour continually, just not aware of it...and what if his wife is now in the room with him? I interpret the tape recorder ending two ways: One, Enslin managed to escape and the recording is proof of his experience and reassurance that he's not losing his mind or Two, the room is playing yet another trick on him and his wife is now involved. Or a third and fourth possible ending could be that since the recording is of Enslin and Katie saying that they'll be a family again, 1408's evil has possessed Enslin and he's about to kill both himself and his wife; or that it symbolizes 1408 will always be with Enslin no matter what.

I can't believe a horror movie turned out so great, but "1408" succeeds because it has so many layers to it. It says that the only things to truly fear are bad memories. Wow.

MasterChief117
10-07-2007, 09:31 PM
http://pic40.picturetrail.com/VOL290/1474741/7827219/261520603.jpg

Release Date: June 22, 2007
Director: Mikael Håfström
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
Rating: PG-13 (for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language)

1408 was definitely a change in the thriller/horror genre that has been pumping out dozens of original and remake content. It seems to be one of the more popular genre to produce as they come out nation wide, with unknown actors, semi-known actors and yet always bring in profit, despite the majority being decent at best. It's no wonder that any time one is advertised, avid movie goers take only a slight interest, but most tend to shrug them off.

The trailers for 1408 interested me enough, but personally, I was yet again ending with a shrug, thinking it would be just like the many other dozens that come out every few months. In fact, I would have probably not even seen it in the theatre if it wasn't for the good word of mouth it was getting from all the early previews, which was surprising to say the least.

So did the film live up to all the positive buzz? Yes and no. It was not the break through thriller I was hoping for, but it was definitely a good film, and one that I'm glad Cusack could be apart of.

1408 has plenty of actors in it, including Samuel Jackson (the hotel manager), Mary McCormack (Cusack's ex-wife) and even a cameo by Tony Shalhoub (Cusack's publisher). The main star here is John Cusack all the way, though, who plays the cheap writer Michael Enslin, who has been making his living basically writing books about haunted locations, which he over-exaggerates just to make his books more interesting, although he doesn't exactly believe in spirits and/or has yet to encounter anything substantial in his eyes. The film wisely sets you up by starting you out seeing how he does his business and selling his books. I was actually thinking before the movie started that I hope they start out showing him check out some other "haunted" place before he decides to go off to this room he hears about. The setup is very nicely done.

Anyway, backing up here, I say all the way, because Cusack makes up a good 70% of the film practically alone, and while some critics have downed him and his recent run of mediocre features, I thought he delivered extremely well here. You have the thrills and his insanity enduring, and he can lighten the mood just slight after something crazy with an amusing observative line in his crazy situation. This is perfect in a film like this because lightening the mood will take you off guard for the next "scare".

Is the movie scary? Again, yes and no. There are a few shocks and jump sequences, albeit some not making much sense in the context of the "story". Most is just very disturbing and is there to mess with your head, just as it's messing with his. The observation that the film is less a horror movie, and more psychological thriller is correct in that you're basically just watching a full-length feature of a man going insane, and taking you right along with him.

Does the movie make much sense? No... not really. You will probably have a good time here due to the uneasy nature alone, but if you think too much about it, you'll see there isn't much to it. Indeed, I would have liked more explanation as to the room's origin, and how it first started getting to this demonic form. Being able to find out that perhaps the first death/suicide or two that occurred in there maybe started a wave of evil that would sweep up anyone that stayed within. Sure, that would make sense, but nothing like that is explained. All we know is that as soon as the hotel was built, people that stayed there started dying. There were also events that while seemed insane, there were some that seemed very physical, and characters or ghosts seen you'd have thought would be explained at some point, to give them a little more validity in what exactly they were doing (besides the obvious).

*SPOILERS*:
The film did end up having a or some "false endings". I didn't find it poorly done, but then again I knew the first time it happened, immediately upon it happening, that it was fake what I was seeing, which I really hate the critics for giving away. I did not read any reviews, but I saw a couple headline previews for reviews (IE from rottentomatoes.com), that gave it away. So instead of wondering what was going on and thinking maybe he was dragging an evil with him, I instead knew that it was actually just more foolery on the room's part, thanks to those too careless to realize that mentioning that there's a "false ending" spoils part of the film.

The ending, was semi-satisfying. It just kinda left you hanging, but it was alright, and makes sense as long as you don't start thinking that there might be far more to the picture. Some may argue that he's probably still in the room, but I really don't see any indication as such. However the fact that he was able to just easily burn the room in itself seems far-fetched, considering so much he saw, including the room in ruins and bricked windows and doors, was all an illusion. What's to stop the room from making him think that the fire he was starting was an illusion as well?

That aspect was the one part that annoyed me the most, but the very ending itself I'm not too bugged by, at least in that I'm not thinking that it might all still be an illusion. It was just an unsettling ending where his tape proved he wasn't crazy. What he saw and heard really did happen. That's basically how I'm taking it.

Lastly, I'm going to assume that the Michael Enslin's daughter was raped and got AIDS? It never really explains what she has or what happened to her, but in the context of their conversations and her short life span, that's the first explanation that popped into my head. I'm not sure why it was felt there was no need to bother mentioning it though, or whatever it was.

The Bottom Line?
All in all, I'd say it's worth a look see. It doesn't, in my opinion, have great replay value. I could probably find myself bored attempting to watch it again knowing when and how everything happens, but for a one time view in the theatre, I would say it's worth it. It's not going to go down as one of the greats (Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, Se7en), but it's a definite welcoming change when you consider the very unsettling run of many mediocre "scare films" that are at every turn, and most just try with gore and freaks. This is no Saw or Hostel, either, mind you. It's not going to scare or freak you out in the way of shocking and disgusting imagery. But what it does do, it does it pretty well, which is to unease, confuse and disturb.

8 / 10

Good Review, i don't really care to see the movie. But i like the time and effort you put into this movie. Nicely done.

msmoonvicky
10-08-2007, 02:23 PM
I enjoyed this movie, it wasnt gory or had a lot of crazy killings like most horror movies do. I mean a lot of stuff happened even though it was just focused on that one room. I kept on saying GEtOUt! when he was able to, but no of course the story line has to go on. lol. But I just wish they explained why the room was so evil and how it came to be, it probably wasnt always like that, especially when the hotel first opened.

dongarcia
10-29-2007, 10:37 AM
I would have to say that I personally enjoyed the movie and I'll give it a 9/10..
It scared me a bit...Its a nice movie period...

kharen
10-29-2007, 03:44 PM
unfortunately.. I've got no time to see this film... I'm still curious about in the room... :)

quiksilver022
10-29-2007, 11:36 PM
If you haven't seen it but you consider yourself a suspense junkie like myself, it's a must. Set aside two hours of your time, kick it back, and enjoy. I've yet to see the Alternate Ending on the DVD but I was pretty pleased with the theatrical ending.