8/31/2007

Movie Review: 1408


1408 is misleading in some respects-- it prominently shows Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane, Pulp Fiction) on the movie poster when his screen time is probably less than 10% of the movie and it didn't strike me as a scary movie, but it has its share of good, and I mean really good, scares.

The movie, based on a Stephen King short story, is about a room in the historical (and fictitious) Dolphin Hotel in New York known for the grisly ends of the guests checking in the room. An author with a penchant for the supernatural histories of places challenges the room by checking in and surviving within an hour of stay, in spite of the warnings of the hotel manager (Jackson).

The Mikael Håfström film can be also be called as the John Cusack (High Fidelity, Con Air) Show. Cusack portrays jaded horror author Mike Enslin with much depth and texture that you'd think the movie won't be as effective if another actor played the part. While the movie bucks the trend of gory trend of thrillers produced as of late, 1408 is effective in inducing chills via the claustrophobic treatment of the atmosphere and the psychological aspect of the story (Is Mike going crazy? Is it all real?).

The movie gets confusing and slows down during the final and third act and the twist it provides lacks the mind-boggling oomph. But the movie is intelligent and character-driven, which complement the scares. On a final note, you won't probably want to hear The Carpenters within a week or two after watching this movie.

Rating: 4/5

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