The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel's evil room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr. Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The initial story inspiration for 1408 came from a collection of real-life news stories about parapsychologist Christopher Chacon's investigation of a notoriously haunted room at the famous Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, CA, as well as another undisclosed hotel on the East Coast. See more »
The amount of blood on the door from Mike's left hand changes between shots. See more »
Mike Enslin makes a living as an author, who specializes in the paranormal phenomenon. After receiving a postcard saying DO NOT STAY IN 1408, Mike becomes intrigued. After much hassle and waring from the hotel Manager, Mike finally makes it into the room. What at first seems to be a normal hotel room, turns into a horrific nightmare and Mike only has one hour to live.
There have been many films based on Kings writings. Some of these films are terrifying, such as IT and The Shinning; while others are terrifyingly bad, Dreamcatcher anyone? The latest film to be added to the list is 1408 and lucky for us it belongs to the former. 1408 works on many different levels and even throws a twist to the audience. While it's not the best King adaptation it certainly is one of the better ones and deserves to be called The Shining for 2007.
In the era when so called horror films are full of SAWS and HOSTELS, it's refreshing to see some new blood being pumped into the genre. 1408 pumps a whack of blood and a whole lot more. The film starts off as one would expect, with Mike investigating one of his routine spooky places, then goes on to show his life as a writer with not so many fans. We get a sense of loneliness with Mike, he has lost something. Cusack plays the character well. For those who think they can't get pass the fact that it is John Cusack, I assure you you will not think about it during this film. His performance is a complete 180 from his previous work and I give him credit for pulling it off. Cusack goes through a wide range of emotions through this film, most of them being on the terrified side, but everyone of them is believable. Sure there are many other actors out there who could have pulled off this role, but Cusack does a fine job. Which is a really big thing that this film depends on, because there is virtually no one else in this film. The supporting characters are lucky is they get 10 minutes of screen time. Tony Shalhoub, of MONK fame is only in one scene and Mr. Jackson shares the screen with Cusack for just about ten minutes...to explain the horrors of the room, then he's gone.
Håfström, whose work I'm not too familiar with does an excellent job of bringing King's short story to live with a vivid and creative imagination. He manages to keep the audience on the edge of their seat throughout the film the moment the terror starts. The film's intentions are not to scare you with the "jump" tactic, but tries to pull something deeper, the kind of scare the builds and builds until you can't take it anymore. The entire time we are in this claustrophobic room and we know danger is looming, but we can't escape. We are stuck in this room because Mike is stuck in this room. We know the dangers ahead, we want out, he doesn't. The cinematography is beautiful, especially considering it takes place in one room. From the icy cold snow to the green walls and even the burnt aftermath of destruction, the film is beautiful no matter what is on the screen.
Cusack talking into his recorder acts as his mind trying to grab any sense of reality in this evil room. Trying to debunk the true horrors of what is actually happening. Those true horrors are psychological. One minute something spooky is happening, then next everything is normal. This mind game has been done before and before and here it's brought to the next level. Everything that happens can instantly change. One minute you can be walking in the room full of snow, then next your trapped under water. Being confined to this one room with this one character places tension on the audience as well. We don't know what is going to happen next, but we know it's not good.
There is somewhat of a twist in the film, I won't give it away, but once it happens you see 3 things happen and in this order. One is disappointment, the next is predictability and finally excitement that what you predicted is true. During this third part of things that happen, the scene in which everything is thrown back into focus is superbly done. Kudos to that scene as it is one of the best in the entire film. The main characters life he thought he had all of a sudden comes tumbling down, literally. This whole segment does slow down the pace of the film, but it fits perfectly into the psychological torment of this character.
In the end 1408 is an excellent film that will send shivers down the spines of those wanting a good scare. If you're sick and tired of the played out genres of SAW or HOSTEL, 1408 is something new and exciting and actually good. You won't get much from anyone other then Cusack, but what he brings to the table is indeed a good performance. Every corner and every room within 1408 is something that you will have to see for yourself, you never know what horrors lie next and that my friend, is a good horror film.
179 of 255 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?