MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:34 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dimension Films
Kiddie Movie: It’s a hard PG-13. Keep the kiddies at home.
Date Movie: She’ll probably get scared and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: No real blood and gore.
Action: Some chasing.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: The entire hour of hell.
Memorable Quote: Mr. Olin: "It’s an evil, fucking room."
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom
Produced By: Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Is it possible to make a great horror/thriller film, with no real killings, no over-the-top gore, no psychopath trying to kill people? Could you also do so where the movie will only be rated PG-13? My answer is “Yes,” especially if it is a movie based on a Stephen King short story, and this movie is “1408.”

John Cusack is Mike Enslin. He appears to have written a decent novel at one point in his life, but now writes books geared at reviewing locations that are supposedly haunted, or at least infiltrated by something supernatural. In every case he has debunked the ghost stories, but still reviews the overall creepiness of the place giving it his “skull” rating. Psychologically-wise there is a reason for Mike’s searching out the supernatural, tied to the death of his daughter, but as of yet he has no reason to believe in the afterlife. Here comes room 1408.

In his mail is a postcard telling him to not enter room 1408 at The Dolphin Hotel in good old New York City, which he then researches finding out the room has been the location of many a death. Figuring it would be the perfect last stop for his next book, he heads east from the sun and surf of California only to find Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), the hotel manager, totally against Mike’s staying the night in the room. Mr. Olin states no one lasts longer than an hour in the room without something really bad happening to them, but Mike is undeterred.

Using his tape recorder, Mike begins his dictation as to the flavor of the room, from the bland paintings to it being like most other rooms he has stayed at. Things are a little creepy for him, which he accounts to parlor tricks, and as the air conditioning doesn’t seem to be working properly, he calls down to room service, they send up an engineer (the dude won’t enter the room, only tells Mike how to fix the thermostat), and suddenly Mike thinks he is in the middle of a big ruse by Mr. Olin, that is until the window slams his hand, the clock radio turns into a countdown timer starting at 60 minutes, and Mike is sent into an hour long bizarreness somewhere between a bad nightmare and a total mental breakdown. The walls bleed, his dead daughter comes back to life, he meets his father again, he sees ghosts jumping out windows, the room turns freezing cold, he can’t get help from room service, and his room is like Hotel California, where you can check out, but you can never leave.

“1408” is a refreshing horror movie in a time when slasher films seemed to have been ruling the roost. Not that I have anything against slasher films, and sure there are times I get creeped out when someone’s balls are in a vice, but for the most part I can laugh off most of the story of a slasher film. But “1408” is more like a nightmare you might have had, one you can’t wake up from, and when you do wake up you are freaked out and in a cold sweat. For a change a movie actually gave me goosebumps and chills, I suppose probably because for an hour of the film you knew at any moment something creepy could pop up, and I mean at any moment, and just as you let your guard down, there it is.

I’ve got to give it to John Cusack because he is fantastic as Mike, skeptical at first, but when he quickly gets spooked by the room during the first few minutes, he totally lets the room’s history spin him into total delusion. You would think he would be cool enough to go “This is just a giant parlor trick,” sit on the bed, and let the hour go by, but there is his deep-seeded hope that there is some sort of afterlife that keeps him trapped in the hell that has become room 1408.

If you are a little tired of the slasher horror genre and want a fantastic thriller, “1408” should really do the trick. The writing is smart, the acting is smart, and no one gets their balls in a vice, just a hand crushed by a window. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!