Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
What does God say? Answer
|Featuring:||John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub, Mary McCormack, Jasmine Jessica Anthony, Christopher Carey, Mary McCormack|
|Producer:||Jeremy Steckler, Jake Myers, Lorenzo di Bonaventura|
“The Dolphin Hotel invites you to stay in any of its stunning rooms. Except one.”
“1408” is based on a short story, written by Stephen King, for the Everything’s Eventual published book of short stories. When King originally began “1408,” it was never meant to have an ending. “I wrote the first three or four pages as part of an appendix for my On Writing book, wanting to show readers how a story evolves from a first draft to a second,” King says. He goes on to talk about how, unexpectedly, the story “seduced” him. The entire story, in written form, is 38 pages.
Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is an author. He is best known for a series of books he has written on Haunted places. There is the 10 Nights in Haunted Graveyards, The 10 Nights in Haunted Mansions, The 10 Nights in Haunted Houses, and his current work: 10 Nights in Haunted Hotels. Mike doesn’t try very hard to show the world that he stands behind his work, or believes in what he is doing. Early in the film, on a few occasions, he makes comments about how this is where the money is. It is even mentioned, by a few people who have read his work, that his earlier unrecognized book was beautifully crafted and touching. Even so, Mike Enslin seems content in being miserable and bitter.
It is for his current project that Mike heads to New York City and into the Dolphin Hotel. His goal is to spend an entire night in room 1408, but when requesting these accomodations, the Hotel’s manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) immediately shuts him down. It is with the help of his publisher’s attorney that he finally gets Olin to work with him.
Once Mike gets to the Dolphin, Olin tries very hard to persuade Mike to change his mind. He shares with him privileged knowledge of the 12 suicides and over 30 natural deaths, which seemed to occur each time a guest stayed in room 1408. He tells him bizarre effects that the room has had on his staff. He tells him anything that he can, to persuade Mike to upgrade to a different room or leave all together. When Olin finally consents to take Mike up to the 14th floor (which is actually the thirteenth floor), He even goes so far as to beg him to change his mind.
Obviously though, Mike goes anyway. If he didn’t, where would the story be?
Stephen King is a true craftsman, when it comes to weaving stories. His talents are nearly unmatched when it comes to metaphorically weaving entire story lines around abuse, addictions and tragedy. So much so, in fact, that quite often people don’t even see those connections.
When I first learned that the 38 page story of “1408” was being made into a movie, I couldn’t help but laugh. I knew that, whoever the screenplay writer was, he had a big job ahead of himself. It isn’t that the story alone wasn’t good. It’s a great tale. Unlike the majority of Stephen King’s works though, it lacked any real depth. The outcome though, the screenplay inspired by King’s Tale, is cleverly done. It isn’t perfect, and areas about it still felt lacking. Even so though, there is a metaphorical story here that anyone willing to look deeply can relate to. A story about loss and emptiness, later filled with bitterness and resentment because sometimes we are deluded into feeling life is safer that way. Not that I expected any less, but John Cusack does a great job in this almost entirely solo endeavor.
Due to the graphic nature of this story’s plot, quite often there are flashes of graphic images from the deaths which occurred in room 1408. At times, the scene lingers on gruesome photographs from the crime scenes, other times these suicides and deaths are re-enacted. In a few instances, ghosts of past residents seem to appear in the room.
There are several scenes of human blood, both in real time, as well as flashbacks and photos. In one brief scene, the very ordinary hotel artwork transforms into more perverse versions of their scene.
Considering the film’s genre, the language was pretty mild. Don’t get me wrong, there is profanity used.
There is some sort of unexplained supernatural entity, which for many is automatically a cause for concern.
There are several “jump scenes,” this movie isn’t one for the weak of heart or easily scared.
During a very brief scene, when Mike first enters room 1408, he searches through the on screen television menu scanning the “Adult Entertainment.”
There is a scene in which Mike is told that he always has free will. When hearing this, he is told that in this instance it is to have the will to continue in this torture, or to die. This was likely one of the highlights for me, from the entire film. The under current of story, in this film, is one about healing. We all, from the hardness of life, are callused and bitter. If we aren’t, we at least, at some point had the choice to become so.
As Mike travels around, skeptically doing his job and believing that the lack of evidence for paranormal existence only proves his theory that there is no God. I found it fascinating to watch the journey which this story takes Mike Enslin on. To see his cold, hard exterior crumble as he realizes that saying something is—doesn’t make it so.
All things considered, I felt “1408” was fairly average. As is typical with most Cusack roles, there is dry humor in the most necessary of places, relieving tension and leaving it consistently entertaining. For a suspenseful/thriller/horror, “1408” does maintain a fairly clean set. The special affects are tasteful, for the most part, letting the scarier scenes rely more on suspense of brief flashes than gore. It is average for a PG-13 movie, of this genre, and I am thinking could maybe even be considered one of the better ones.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor