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Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look49.21%
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6 reviews, 27 user ratings

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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Room Disservice"
3 stars

A Stephen King adaptation about a man trapped in a haunted hotel room, 1408 can hardly avoid coming off like a scaled-down retelling of THE SHINING, and it says something that director Mikael Hafstrom’s film doesn’t look altogether silly when compared to Kubrick’s masterpiece.

John Cusack plays well-known author (does King ever employ any other protag?) Mike Enslin, who specializes in nonfiction books pertaining to supernatural phenomena. Mike doesn’t really believe in the supernatural, and hasn’t since the tragic death of his daughter knocked the faith out of him. As you may have already guessed, he’s heading straightway into one of those skeptic-confronts-weirdness situations, which comes about when Mike investigates the mysterious room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel. It seems that Room 1408 has a remarkably dismal history, with no fewer than 56 of its residents meeting untimely ends over the years—all of them within an hour of their arrival. Ignoring the sage advice of the manager (Sam Jackson, who gets to utter the line, “It’s an evil fucking room”), Mike checks into 1408, and soon finds out the hard way that those scary legends about the room may be true after all.

Cusack’s pretty good as the cynical author; his everyman persona balances out a character who might have otherwise come across as a misanthrope. But the screenplay (credited to three writers, including the guys who wrote ED WOOD) too often grabs at cliché ideas, like the Innocuous Yet Creepy Song That Inexplicably Keeps Playing on the Radio, an idea most recently seen in THE RETURN, and here taking the form of the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun.” And like many supernatural thrillers of recent years, 1408 has difficulty establishing ground rules for the strangeness on display; much of the time we seem to be getting a lot of weird random shit with no rhyme or reason. Some of it comes across as silly rather than scary, like the bit where Cusack is deluged with water pouring out of a nautical-themed painting on the wall. Confronted with an ever-escalating series of bizarre happenings, Cusack—screaming, thrashing, pulling out his hair—often looks like he’s trapped not in an evil fucking room but a home-improvement infomercial from hell.

Even so, you have to give 1408 bonus points, in these torture-porn times, for daring to depend on character and chills rather than gore. Much of the credit goes to Cusack, who for much of the running time is the only actor on screen. He gives an emotional center to a film that could easily have been just another special-effects light show.

While certainly no classic, it’s worthwhile viewing on a rainy day. I should also point out that the title does not lend itself well to sequelization. What would the follow-up be titled? 1408 2?

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16181&reviewer=223
originally posted: 06/24/07 03:02:37
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell a solid spookshow 4 stars
3/07/15 stanley welles a good old fashioned scary movie 3 stars
6/28/14 Quicksilver2477 Brilliant, if you don't get see it again or pick up a book once in awhile. Cusack was great 4 stars
1/21/14 Charles Tatum Nicely done horror pic 4 stars
3/20/11 holly sines was expecting a better ending... 3 stars
11/24/09 RobU Grabbed my attention up until around the mid-point but it goes downhill from there. 3 stars
10/18/09 auzzie chickie good movie... But whats up with the room? 3 stars
1/06/09 mr.mike Good up until its several endings, none of which is really satisfying. 3 stars
5/01/08 Frenzy Stupid movie 2 stars
3/17/08 daveyt Tragic offspring death = disaffected parent story no.697. I want to know about the room!! 2 stars
10/22/07 ALICE Good acting but seen it all before.. 3 stars
10/10/07 mike i'm not really sure wtf I just watched. I think I wasted an hour and a half 1 stars
10/08/07 Crestfall Not bad, Cusack solid as always, but lacking in total interest 3 stars
10/04/07 action movie fan familiar seen it all before=not scary -silly and goes nowhere 2 stars
10/01/07 Rick excellent thriller, focuses much more on suspense than gore 5 stars
7/17/07 Crystal Worst thing I've seen. Nothing made sense 2 stars
7/17/07 damalc i've seen much scarier, but had a really good story 4 stars
6/27/07 Lynn John Cusack rules!! BTW, Brian - you turned me on when you wrote "mind-fuck" 5 stars
6/26/07 Paul Burke Excellent movie. Filled with comic relief. Exquisite ending for such a great thriller. 5 stars
6/25/07 DonnyM Loved it. Would See It Agian. Also kind of funny. 5 stars
6/25/07 Anthony G Brilliant film, best horror movie in years. 5 stars
6/24/07 Chris The sequal probably would be called " Return to 1408 " or " Back to 1408" like that. 4 stars
6/24/07 ahnold Good movie, worth a look and the ending was good too. 4 stars
6/24/07 Ole Man Bourbon Boo!!! The Movie 2 stars
6/23/07 Brian Mckay Fun movie that only occasionally gets too formulaic. Has fair share of creepy mind-fucks 4 stars
6/23/07 Tyrantis An actually good horror movie... zounds. 5 stars
6/22/07 Quigley Very creepy psychological horror film. Ending was kinda lame. Cusack is awesome. 5 stars
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  22-Jun-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 02-Oct-2007

  31-Aug-2007 (15)

  06-Dec-2007 (M)

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