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People Don't Kill People; Room 1408 Kills People

  • Sep 1, 2009
  • by
Pros: Good creep-out factor, Cusack has skills, cinematography

Cons: Slightly predictable in some respects

The Bottom Line: A solid film of supernatural horror.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

It seems like once in a blue moon, I decide to let myself see a scary movie.  Normally, I don't do well with scary movies.  I've pretty much mastered my fear of the dark, but I still have those moments where I threaten violence upon nonexistent things.  I have an imagination I can't turn off.  Watching a freaky movie just amps it up.  It sucks.

But the other morning my family discovered 1408.  I recalled that it was on my list of once-in-a-blue-moon scary movies.  Mostly because I like John Cusack, it looked interesting, and I felt that maybe it would be less scary with John in there.  Based on work by Stephen King, I figured it would be pretty good, as a good number of Stephen King-based movies tend to creep me out.

Cusack (Mike) is an author who writes about haunted places, with his goal of debunking their hauntedness.  Then he hears about a hotel called The Dolphin, where room 1408 is the source of numerous deaths and famous for being horrifically haunted.  Whatever.  Mike is on his way and after several people try to stop him from staying in the room, he does.

And then he can't leave.  The radio turns on.  Unplugging it doesn't help.  The temperature changes.  He starts to see people.  He starts to see them jump out of windows.  Paintings on the wall move.  And as the clock on the radio slowly ticks down from 60:00, Mike will have to figure out how to stay alive - if that's possible.

This is one of those movies you tend to interact with.  You make suggestions to the character.  You tell everyone around you, "If that were me..."  And in the end you might throw up your hands and say, "Finally!  Geez!"  I kept wanting Mike to get mad, to start yelling at whatever entity is manipulating the room.  The entity/room kept playing nasty little mind games and it annoyed the crap out of me that Mike kept jumping right through the hoops instead of doing what he should have about halfway through the movie - stop playing.  It's slightly predictable in some respects, because I'd already figured out how to at least survive longer (though I had no idea on how one might escape).  And of course, there's the hoop jumping - when Mike sees a new door, he has to open it.  When he discovers a change in the room, he has to inspect it.  When he sees someone he loves, he falls for it.  Rather equivalent to "Don't go into that room - the killer's in there!"

The scary part is that you don't know what the room/entity has in store.  You do know that what it does is kill people, or at least makes them cut their own throats or leap from the open window.  It talks to Mike through the phone and through mind games.  You don't know if you're going to see some friggin' scary creature or what.  Even worse, when the room changes the rest of the hotel (or at least it seems that way) to keep Mike inside, there's just that sinking sensation of "Oh that would just so suck."  Whatever is in there, it's mean, and it really likes to f*ck people over using everything in its power, as well as everything in their minds.  And when the lights in the room went out, that made me squirm in my chair.

I was pleased with the end, a smile of satisfaction on my face.  It's not a horror movie that will haunt you (which is lucky for me) after you've finished watching it.  There's no excessive gore, but instead using psychological as well as supernatural methods to freak you out or make you uncomfortable.  Enjoyable horror sure to have you glued to the screen.


P.S. I actually went and looked at the trailer, and I have to say - the section with the little girl in the trailer was a LOT creepier than it was in the movie.  Too bad they didn't stick with how they did the trailer...


Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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More 1408 (2007 movie) reviews
review by . November 19, 2010
The chief problem with all of 1408 remains the chief problem with most 'ghost'-based films: once you're absolutely certain that you're dealing with a ghost/spirit/evil-presence, etc., how much longer CAN you suspend your disbelief?      Based on a Stephen King short story (could you possibly have been expecting a happy ending?), 1408 revolves around a faithless paranormal author Mike Enslin, played perfectly by John Cusack. Enslin writes books about the alleged …
Quick Tip by . January 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
This movie isnt quite as scary as everyone said it was but it was a major mind trip. I really liked it especially the ending!
review by . December 30, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Of all of the Stephen King adaptations out there, the existence of 1408 probably has one of the most interesting stories.  The story itself can be found in a collection of short stories called "Everything's Eventual."  The story is often considered one of King's scariest and creepiest.  It is a more psychological kind of horror than it is one of slashers and mad killers.  These tend to be the kind that entice me more.  Many horror movies nowadays are what are often …
review by . December 30, 2009
Enter 1408 at your own risk....
Horror like action films and romantic Comedies has fallen prey to the disease that is formula. There hasn't been a full blown, original horror film in a long time. But now I have faith the genre can be saved thanks to a film called, 1408.                  1408 is a notch above the regular horror films It doesn't use overt use of gore and blood to tell it's story or to shock and scare you. Instead it use the basic techniques horror films …
review by . February 06, 2009
've always appreciated the differences between psychological "horror" films and slasher horror films. It always tends to be the psychological ones the freak me the hell out. Then, I tend to laugh at films like The Exorcist. But films like 1408 and The Exorcism of Emily Rose always freak me out.    John Cussack has never been one of my favorite actors and he wasn't my favorite in this, but he managed to play the character, which was a depressed alcoholic "scariest places" author. …
review by . March 06, 2009
I was pleasantly surprised or should I say scared by this incredibly creepy film! This is one of the best screen adaptations of a King novel to a movie since The Shining.       John Cusak is a myth debunker who spends the night at places that are reputedly haunted and then writes books about his non-eventful night. He is warned not to stay in room 1408 at the New York Dophin. Of course he then insists on staying there and no amount of persuasion can stop him. Even documented …
review by . February 06, 2009
This is a creepy, scary movie.      It wisely starts off by setting up the main character, and making it clear that he's pretty bored with going to so-called haunted hotel rooms and finding nothing. Apparently writing about having seen no ghosts doesn't sell many books, either, which may explain why there are so many authors that apparently see them, and not many that don't.      After the initial setup, which was very well paced, there is the (basically) …
review by . October 31, 2008
Mike Enslin (John Cusack) writes "horror" guides to haunted places. With several books under his belt, he's become numb to the supposedly haunted surroundings he puts himself into. Until he hears about room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York City. In order to check into room 1408, Mike must get his attorney involved, regarding some blue law that if the room requested is unoccupied it must be rented upon request. It's the only way Mr. Olin (Samuel Jackson), manager of the Dolphin, will rent the …
review by . October 14, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Tense, startling, disturbing with flashes of humor      Cons: Horror, like Humor, is very subjective... not everyone has the same buttons. This work's biggest downfall is it's predictability.      The Bottom Line: Just in time for Halloween, "1408" is filled with devilish delights for all the eager boys and ghouls.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. I just Love what …
review by . December 25, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
This is a creepy, scary movie.     It wisely starts off by setting up the main character, and making it clear that he's pretty bored with going to so-called haunted hotel rooms and finding nothing. Apparently writing about having seen no ghosts doesn't sell many books, either, which may explain why there are so many authors that apparently see them, and not many that don't.    After the initial setup, which was very well paced, there is the (basically) one …
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Nicole ()
Ranked #71
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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The PG-13 rating given to 1408 belies this film's truly terrifying effects on its audience. Though it's far less gory than its peers, it has frightening moments and a creepy mood throughout. John Cusack (IDENTITY) plays Mike Enslin, a gifted writer who has turned his talents to paranormal travel books. His stays in haunted hotels never shake him, but he's intrigued by New York's Dolphin Hotel. Room 1408 has been the site of dozens of deaths, and this is a selling point for the skeptic in Mike. Despite the warnings of the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson, BLACK SNAKE MOAN), Mike resolves to stay in the haunted room. No one has lasted more than an hour in 1408, and Mike has his work cut out for him. <br> <br> Though Cusack got his acting pedigree in comedies, he proves he's able to adeptly carry a horror film. He's in practically every frame of the film, often alone, and he's great at making the audience share in his fear. This is the second English-language film from director Mikael Hafstrom (DERAILED), ...

Starring John Cusack, Tony Shalhoub, Samual L. Jackson
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
Writer: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander
Based on a short story by Stephen King
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Director: Mikael Håfström
Genre: Horror
Release Date: June 22, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Weinstein Company/Genius (October 02, 2007)
Studio: Dimension Films, Weinstein Company
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