Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Director: Mikael Håfström (Derailed)
Novel: Sergei Lukyanenko, Vladimir Vasiliev
Screenplay: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Starring: John Cusack, Mary McCormack, Jasmine Jessica Anthony, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 94 min
read my spoiler disclaimer

reviewed by Andrew James
     As scary movies go these days, 1408 is a nice step up from the usual torture-porn that we've had a barrage of in the past few years. In this film, we have genuine scares and frights that are not reduced to an ice pick through an eyeball or a razor blade cutting someone's achilles tendon.

      1408 is the story of Mike Enslin, a writer of a series of "touristy" books relating to so-called, haunted hotels around the country. Mike has become a real skeptic over the years as he's never actually seen a real phantasm, but makes a good living writing about how they supposedly inhabit various hotels around the country. One day, Mike receives an anonymous postcard instructing him not to enter room #1408 in a certain, posh New York Hotel. Naturally skeptical, but curious, Mike decides to give it a shot. Arriving at the hotel, the manager (Jackson) tries extremely hard, although unsuccessfully, to convince Mike not to stay in that room. "No one has made it more than an hour in that room," he says. What Mike finds in the room is a fright fest beyond belief that only Stephen King could come up with.

      I have to admit, on more than one occasion did I have hairs stand up a little on the back of my neck during this movie. That's a tough thing for movies to accomplish for me as I've gotten older, so that alone makes this film (for me) a worthy watch.

      Part of what makes the film work is its claustrophobic feel. In a similar film, The Shining (also written by Stephen King), which also takes place in a hotel and revolves around a scary room, the main characters have free roam of this gigantic motel. In 1408, that's exactly where we are stuck: in room 1408. There is no where to run and there is no where to hide. Mike has no choice but to ride out the terror and hope for the best. To make it worse, a count down clock has started and Mike has 60 minutes to escape or else. What that "else" is, we don't know, but this adds much to the anticipation and suspense.

      Although I was genuinely scared on more than one occassion, some of the movie did feel a little bit like it was swamped by a little too much unnecessary CGI and some cheap parlour tricks that could've been done by a creative group of boy scouts putting on their annual, fund-raising haunted house at the local church. Coupled with this are the moments of amped speaker volume and "jump out at you" moments that generally just piss me off, rather than scare me. It's a cop-out tactic, but we know they're going to be there; they're in every film of this kind so it's to be expected. Even with these drawbacks, there are enough elements that are truly creepy and scary to give the film a positive review.

      One of the things that work best is the anticipation of what is to come. We sort of know what we're getting into even before entering the theater, but the scene in which the manager is trying to convince Mike not to stay in the room has an electric chemistry and shows two of America's favorite actors sparring a bit with some fun dialogue that absolutely had me convinced that WE DO NOT want to enter this room. The way it is explained should've been enough to convince anyone, even Mike Enslin, that they shouldn't enter the room under almost any circumstances. So when we're walking towards the room, the suspense is almost unbearable.

      However, for those that are big Sam Jackson fans, you should know going in that he is hardly in the film at all. He only has about 10 minutes of actual screen time. For the time that he is there, it works well, but he's not a major player in the picture. This is all Cusack all the time. Which is not a bad thing as Cusack is Cusack and he plays the part extremely well. In one fairly dramatic, sub-plotted flashback in which Mike is recalling his deceased daughter, we see that Cusack can actually act as well as play the usual characture of himself that he usually portrays.

      Most important of all is the how everything ties up. There is no cop out, cheese or eye-roller of an ending. Stephen King adaptations are always very hit or miss, but like 'em or hate 'em, one thing he knows how to do is not leave his audience hanging. And I think after the final act you'll leave the theater feeling satisfied and not that feeling of being cheated as you might with most horror of today.

      Though it does have some schlocky effects and tactics at various points throughout the film, 1408 delivers what most horror films of today can't: true frights and suspense. There are no teenage girls running through the forest, there are no deranged psychos hiding in the shadows, there are no axes through the skull and best of all, there are no cars breaking down in the middle of nowhere for no reason. Is this the greatest horror film of all time? Of course not; but hopefully it is the start of a trend to getting away from torture/exploitation and bringing us some new ideas of what fright can truly be (even if it is PG-13 fright). It may not seem like much, but what is here is one damn spooky room; that if you didn't know any better, you might think you've been given some really, REALLY bad acid should you decide to enter.

Press "PLAY" to watch the trailer

IMDb profile - full cast and crew
Official Site

Posted by Andrew James in

(77) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Next entry: 2 Days in Paris Previous entry: Halloween
  1. Maaaan, you know there is such thing in the web like search engine, if you don’t, go there to understand why this post is bullshit

    alobbessy  on  02/21  at  06:28 PM
  2. is very the most informative. I enjoyed your blog a lot. Thank you.

    cash advance  on  06/28  at  07:27 AM
  3. is great! Fast Payday Loans Are They More Epensive As with fast payday loans this recently used to be the case but competitive lenders and higher demand has taken this loan type to mainstay levels

    toronto payday loans  on  07/11  at  04:33 AM
  4. is great! I loved reading it. Thank you for all your work.

    mr payday review  on  08/18  at  06:15 PM
  5. Your blog website is very useful. Say thanks to you truly for sharing a great deal of priceless important info. I will bookmark bookmark your blogging site and will be certainly returning. Yet again, I recognize the value of your entire work additionally sharing lots of useful facts for the people.

    payday loans canada  on  08/24  at  05:03 AM
  6. qdcqiafkvezcwtsuuoszsmbiiaxaeafmdew

    bc loans  on  09/01  at  05:58 PM
  7. Thanks for making such a killer blog. I come on here all the time and am floored with the fresh information here. hvyralssnvnszarpikbuekklzemevmppksd

    Mr. Payday Easy Loans Inc.  on  09/07  at  08:04 PM
  8. I will post a link to this blog on my website. I’m sure my readers will find this info really great.

    online payday loans  on  09/21  at  08:57 AM
  9. This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives in-depth information. Thanks for this nice article

    payday loans canada  on  09/21  at  08:43 PM
  10. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. xgbdszoijwi

    payday loans no fax  on  09/22  at  07:44 PM
  11. This website is awesome. I constantly come across something new & different right here. Thank you for that data.

    loans no fax  on  09/25  at  08:11 PM
  12. I must say that overall I am very taken with this site. It is apparent that you know you subject matter and you are passionate about it. I wish I had got your ability to write. I have bookmarked your site and look forward to more updates.

    loans canada  on  09/26  at  05:57 AM
  13. Very useful article.  Myself & my neighbor were preparing to do some research about that. We got a good book on that matter from our local library and most books were not as descriptive as your information. I am very glad to see such information which I was searching for a long time.

    bad credit loan in canada  on  09/26  at  06:30 PM
  14. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Take care.

    bad credit loans toronto  on  09/27  at  08:55 AM
  15. Hi buddy, incredibly informative post. Please maintain them coming.

    loans bc  on  09/27  at  07:16 PM
  16. I am doing something of the same interest and will be taking note on this .Thanks.

    loans ontario  on  09/28  at  09:05 AM
  17. Hi buddy, particularly informative publish. Please maintain them coming.

    bad credit loans  on  09/28  at  07:56 PM
  18. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Take care.

    loans bc in canada  on  09/29  at  08:19 PM
  19. Pretty good publish. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you publish again soon.

    canadian loans bad credit  on  09/30  at  10:46 PM
  20. Thanks for making such a killer blog. I arrive on here all the time and am floored with the fresh information here.

    weight loss  on  10/02  at  12:57 AM
  21. A really nice niche blog, and a really good design there sparks Simplicity yet complex algorithm of the net. Thank You.

    lose weight  on  10/02  at  08:17 AM
  22. I’m happy to have found your quite superb article! I agree with some of your readers and will eagerly look forward to your coming updates. Just saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the wonderful lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates. Great work and much success in your business efforts.

    bad credit loans  on  10/03  at  09:34 AM
  23. Hi webmaster, commencers and everybody else !!! The blog was absolutely amazing! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need! Maintain them coming… You all do such a fabulous job at such Concepts… can’t tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!

    loans in canada with bad credit  on  10/03  at  11:29 PM
  24. Well, the publish is actually the sweetest on this deserving topic. I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your incoming updates. Just saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the great clarity in your writing. I will at once grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Decent work and much success in your business endeavors!

    payday loan online  on  10/04  at  06:31 AM
  25. I’m doing some thing of the same interest and will be taking note on this .Thanks.

    canadian loan bad credit  on  10/05  at  10:16 PM
  26. Page 1 of 4 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »






Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?