While charging up for the next batch of Friday the 13ths, I had a few days to catch up on the other selection. Coming up with quite a good bit of votes was 1408. I’ve been meaning to watch this one for a while. It has quite an appeal to me because I like both John Cusack and Samuel Jackson a lot, plus, it has that one setting creepy feeling to it. I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen a trailer because its been quite a while since its been released but I decided that I’d give it a go.
Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L Jackson, Mary McCormack, Jasmine Jessica Anthony, Tony Shalhoub
Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a paranormal investigator (of sorts) that focuses on proving whether certain known hauntings actually exist or its just a hoax. In his career, he has learned that many are the latter and he has grown to get used to that and usually doesn’t expect too much. When he gets note of the haunted 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York, he ends up spending a night there despite the hotel manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson) using every way possible to prevent him to do so. His night there proved to be more than he ever thought he would encounter and yet maybe there was some truth to the warnings that he’s gotten.
As many of you know, I’m a huge reader. However, I haven’t read anything of Stephen King. No hate messages, ok? I’m planning on remedying that soon. Still, I’ve watched a good bit of the adaptations of Stephen King’s work both movies and TV. 1408 is based on a short story that King wrote. I’m actually pretty intrigued at how this one reads because its an interesting little movie. 1408 has a lot of promise to begin with. It seemed to be in the spirits and haunting enveloped in a hotel room. It has the perfect stage to bring in an impressive story. I had to give this one a little bit more thought because yes, it was creepy and chilling and it had a lot of jump scares (which is effective for me because I know I get scared). Except it feels like its more effective in the first two-thirds of the movies and once we run into the last third and final act, it changes its tone a little. Its a little bit more predictable however it also wraps up in pretty logical way. What really works for 1408 is that the first part sets up the stage so that we have a good idea of getting to know who Mike Enslin is and how he comes to learn about 1408 and getting into the room. When you get in the room, the middle chunk focuses on the events that goes on in the room which includes a lot of creepy events strung together that slowly build up to the final act. Its a pretty good psychological ride at the same time as wondering whether there is someone behind these 1408 hauntings or whether its a spirit or maybe something even more than that.
For the most part, John Cusack is the center of attention in this as he battles whatever is in 1408. He plays off of nothing. Its a pretty intense psychological trip for him when he goes from not really believing in the paranormal or going to the other side of the spectrum where he encounters weird, creepy, shocking events and even dives a little into his own past and we learn a little through these events about who he is and the things he’s gone through. John Cusack was exceptional in this role and I totally loved it. On the other hand, the supporting roles had extremely small parts. We start with Tony Shalhoub as his book editor (I think) and the bit bigger role of Gerald Olin, manager of the Dolphin Hotel played by Samual L. Jackson. The encounter between Olin and Enslin was pretty good to watch.
There is really nothing else to say. Is 1408 a horror psychological thriller or just mainstream horror? I have no idea. Its not gory even though as we learn about the history of 1408, the pictures of the past deaths in the room was pretty disturbing. However, the tone the movie takes and the combination of the story and John Cusack’s performance brings in a creepy and chilling watch. I enjoyed this one a good bit. Although it wasn’t really scaring me a whole lot by the end, and I actually realized that there was a whole lot of jump scares that made 1408 a pretty intense watch. I do admit that when I do think about it, it was pretty scary and probably would’ve been even more if I didn’t strategically watch this in the morning 😉
Have you seen 1408? What did you think of it?