Written by: Matt
Director: Mikael Håfström (also directed Derailed)
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Suspense/Horror, Thriller and Adaptation
Rated: PG-13 for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language.
Duration: 1 hr. 34 min.
Plot: Renowned horror novelist Mike Enslin believes only in what he can see with his own two eyes. But after a string of best-sellers discrediting paranormal events in the most infamous haunted houses and graveyards around the world, he has no real proof of life–afterlife. But Enslin’s phantom-free run of long and lonely nights is about to change forever when he checks into suite 1408 of the notorious Dolphin Hotel.
My review: As a big Stephen King fan I wasted no time getting to the theater today to see 1408. The movie is based on the short story from King’s collection, Everything’s Eventual, which probably worked out very well for it. With a only a foundation provided in the story the screenwriter was given plenty of freedom to fill in the gaps and widen the story to a full length feature film. The story itself, a writer hunting the paranormal, plays out very well. It likely won’t introduce you to anything terribly new that you haven’t seen before in a scary movie, but it does it all in a very simple yet exciting way. After a brief introduction to the story with Cusack wandering a few places he jumps right into the main story line which provides an entertaining interaction between him and Jackson who plays the hotel manager. From there the movie moves along quickly and with only a little more than an hour and a half there isn’t much time to waste.
With such a confined set (not a lot of wandering space even in a hotel suite) the options are somewhat limited for story and characters. Thankfully John Cusack has no problem at all carrying this one nearly the whole way. As I mentioned before his short time with Samuel L. Jackson is good for several laughs although I suspect Jackson will forever be playing the same guy, just in different clothes. There are a few scenes interspersed with Cusack’s wife and daughter which are used not to set the backstory, but instead to harass and torture our protagonist. As time goes by this evil room continues to tighten the screws as it hopes to crack Cusack and add him to its list of victims.
Of course I won’t reveal how it ends, but it wasn’t exactly how I had anticipated. What threw me for several loops was the material we’re shown in the trailer wasn’t all used in the movie, nor was it the exact way the scenes played out. I do think they could have easily added 20 minutes to this movie and explored more angles and added more depth to certain aspects. Perhaps the director and writers wanted to play it safe and get out while the getting was good. Not a bad idea considering the movie feels as though it loses steam as it progresses. I would certainly still recommend this movie both to Stephen King fans and horror/scary movie fans. At just a PG-13 you’re going to get more “bumps in the night” kind of horror than psychological or gore horror, but that’s alright. 1408 is worth checking into. Let’s just see if you can check out. Muahahaha!
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
High point: Lots of scary fun
Low point: Missed chances
1408 Movie Trailer:
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Posted on: Friday, June 22, 2007
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