Movie News

Beware, Plants! The PlantEater’s Seen 1408 Already!!

Published at: Jan. 28, 2007, 5:35 p.m. CST by Moriarty

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I can vouch for PlantEater. He’s a longtime regular in our chatroom. He’s definitely got some strong opinions about film, both positive and negative, and I’ve agreed with him and disagreed with him in equal measure. What I do know is that when he says something about a movie, he genuinely thinks it. I’m not sure if I’ll agree with him about this film or not. I know I liked the trailer that appeared online today, and so did my wife (very much) and my sister-in-law. Since I consider them both fairly hard sells in terms of horror, I think that says something. If a lifelong horror fan like me and genre skeptics like them can all be intrigued by the trailer, it’s a good sign. So what did PlantEater think of the movie? Check it out:

Hey There Moriarty! I got lucky this week and got to see "1408" in Manhattan, at a sneak preview. I did it right, getting there 15 minutes before they suggested, and making sure I was well fed and watered prior to going in. The screening people said it was the first screening of the film in the U.S.(I'm guessing they picked Manhattan because it's the setting of the film). They told us that the music track was temporary, that it was a rough cut, and that the "color timing" was not right in spots, whatever that means. The screening people were pretty nice to us, as they didn't use electronic wands on us, or inspect our bags or make us turn our phones off prior to entering the theater. They simply told us, just before they ran the film, to turn off our phones, no texting or recording would be allowed, and that people would be watching from the aisles to make sure about the recording. This seemed to be a nicer way of treating us than the "security checkpoint" procedure I experienced at another event. The movie for THAT one turned out pretty rotten, so I'm guessing that the relaxed atmosphere at this indicates their confidence in the film. And it truly deserves that confidence. I've been a Stephen King fan for decades, and I don't think I've seen a film capture the spirit of a Stephen King story as well since Cronenberg's "Dead Zone"(and this is a LOT more fast paced and intense than "Dead Zone", don't get the wrong idea). I didn't actually read the short story for this one, but I can see all the familar King themes worked into the film, and it manages to produce scares in the way that King used to do so well in his books ... does anyone remember the hedge animals, the fire hose, and the playground tunnel in his novel "The Shining"? Well, this film's two hours is packed with that kind of heart-in-your-mouth terror. Regular King readers will recognize the familiar scenario of a heart-deadened cynic facing what might be a True Manifestation of the Supernatural, but what the movie does so well, in this case, is really, truly, SELL the premise, really make you believe in it. Much of the credit goes to Samuel L. Jackson, who beats down the cynics in the audience and sells the premise from the very second he first appears. And Cusack's cranky, dry, cynical character manages to accomplish this in a different way ... his determination not to be affected frees the audience from the need to hold on to their own cynicism, allowing them to be FULLY affected. And what a ride the movie gave us! The scares kept coming and coming, and I was surprised, and delighted to find myself jumping out of my skin repeatedly ... the movie did NOT telegraph its scares so they could be anticipated, and moved too quickly for this viewer, at least, to detach from the experience. At one point an "oh!" was forced out of me, in a high girly voice, in response to a particularly intense sequence ending in a violent scare. Even though the music was "temporary" it seemed to be very effective, and the sound effects were amazingly supportive of the feeling of impending doom. The story is laced with typical King-sentiment, which provides relief from the intensity, and which had me in tears a couple of times. I would probably have been able to take the terror straight, and still walk out grinning, (my only gripe is that a certain subplot gave the cynical Cusack character a bit of a forced unselfish motivation .. I enjoy seeing asshole-ish characters get their comeuppance, and wouldn't have minded a totally dark movie without any softening of the protagonist) but as it was, I think the film balanced it just right for the audience I saw it with. The movie got an appreciative, spontaneous round of applause at the end, and I'm certainly glad I was there with them. A rather smelly and sweaty looking individual was talking to the kids collecting the reaction cards afterwards, and saying it wasn't a good movie for people with heart conditions. I'd say that's true, but MY heart appreciated the workout. If you've been put off by endless Mick Garris adaptions of King stories, rest assured that this is one of the rare good ones, that seems to have worked hard to re-imagine a King story and make it work on the screen, not simply worshipping at the feet of the author in a plodding literal way. I would suggest that you see it as I saw it ... without any contamination by trailers. The fun of the movie is in the scares and the intensity leading up to those scares, and it's way better to see this fresh, slapping you in the face with the surprises. One other nitpick I have is about the opening, where a mundane scene is intercut with a flashback, but because we start with a flashback scene, we are confused afterwards as to which is flashing back to which. But as they said, it was a "rough cut", and honestly, the rest of the film didn't feel very "rough" at all. Sorry to end the review on this wannabe-editor note, but they didn't pick me for the focus group, and I had to get one in there. You may call me "PlantEater"

Readers Talkback

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  • Jan. 27, 2007, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Damn

    by 24200124

    Dude, I just watched the trailer for this, and I so desperately want to see this! And... first!

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 7:36 a.m. CST

    "PlantEater"

    by CTU Mole

    So you're a cannibal?

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Plant gotta eat

    by TheTagger

    heh.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Really huge fucking eyes

    by BannedOnTheRun

    symbolize animation in Asian cultures. I'm not feeling the love for the trailer that most here are; and I hate it when ghosts of electronics geeks mess with my LEDs. 'cept for that Police album cover. That was cool.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 8 a.m. CST

    PLANT!

    by mediocrates

    eater...

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 8:11 a.m. CST

    JACK TORRANCE GOTTA EAT

    by jolaz

    This reminds me alot of the whole 'Room 217' thing.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 8:31 a.m. CST

    So '1408' delivers the goods, eh?

    by Ribbons

    Good to hear.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Hey Mori, how about Alien Planet?

    by Edward Brock

    It has come to my attention that you were sent the script for a possible new Alien movie that some guys are trying to do. I was wondering, is it so bad that you're not posting the review or do you just think it's not worth posting it in the site? Or haven't you read it at all? Early stuff from the blog looks interesting. Sorry about the offtopic btw.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 9 a.m. CST

    six symbolises death

    by DrFarben

    in western culture? Shit, you'd think someone would've told me about that.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Funny how 1408 started off life, not even as a short ..

    by Shan

    ... story. Originally (so Stephen King says), it was supposed to be an incomplete start to a story for his book "On Writing", to show people how to start, complete with edited parts and notes written all over the page. He ended up liking it so much (or at least enough) that it did end up as a version (as well) as a complete short story, now this.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Actually wikipedia says it better than me ...

    by Shan

    In the introduction to the story, King says that 1408 is his version of what he calls the "Ghostly Room at the Inn", his term for the theme of haunted hotel or motel rooms in horror fiction. He originally wrote the first few pages as part of an appendix for his non-fiction book, On Writing, to be used as an example of how a story changes from one draft to the next. King also noted how the numbers of the title add up to the unlucky number 13.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Edward Brock

    by misnomer

    "Alien Planet" is a fan-script...I'm sure theres some review of it out there somewhere. As for Alien V, it was a go-ahead until Fox shunned Cameron and Scott. The idea was that the movie would go back to the homeplanet, and it would turn out that the Alien is an endangered spieces because it was so weak compared to the other creatures!!!! the planet would have basically been a living hell...sounded so good as well, but alas Alien V is pretty much dead. AvP2 is shaping up to be a good movie, and there seems to be something stirring around Fox studios about a Predator 3 happening.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Snakes on a train!

    by Snikkar124

    I hate vegetarians!!!That said,Planteater knows his stuff.Most S.King movies suck bigtime,but there are some of them I really enjoy.I will give this one a fair chance.Thanks Planteater. No snakes???Dammit...

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 11:28 a.m. CST

    WHO IS NUMBER ONE?!?!

    by RKDN Del Sol

    Be seeing you.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Re: BringingSexyBack

    by onemanarmy

    That's some deep stuff. <p> "I like, I like."<p> /end Borat impression

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:01 p.m. CST

    This Planteater guy...

    by onemanarmy

    I like his style. Aside from my King Fanboyness...Planteater totally sold me on seeing this film. <p> Great review, whether the movie could've been bad or not I like dudes bluntness. Much love to Moriarty for posting this.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    misnomer

    by Edward Brock

    yeah, I know that but those guys are trying to do something with it. The plan is to make a presentation film and try to show it to Fox. It may not go anywhere but watta heck...

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:05 p.m. CST

    PLANT!

    by THE KNIGHT

    ....

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:06 p.m. CST

    I just wanted to say that...

    by THE KNIGHT

    I just wanted to say that...

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Why? John Why?

    by thewiseman

    Cmon Cusack, why star in shite like this

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Where is the trailer?

    by SkeletonParty

    I want to see it.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST

    "A rather smelly and sweaty looking individual..."

    by jackson healy

    You mean Harry showed up?!

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 12:57 p.m. CST

    HAUNTED ROOMS MAKE MY BALLS TINGLE

    by Roid Rage

    You know what'd be really scary, if Cusack open a closet door and Richard Simmons jumped out (I'd shit myself).

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Those ghost deserved to die & I hope they burn in hell.

    by The Dum Guy

    I only hope this doesn't suck, and that goes for The Mist as well.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Roid Rage

    by Some Dude

    Something very much like that happens in the new WarioWare game for the Wii. Except it is much scarier.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 2:25 p.m. CST

    LOOKS GOOD

    by jjn1268019

    Saw the trailer today, randomly, best one I've seen in weeks, maybe months, looks like The Shining for our generation, and I like that idea of most of the film taking place in the hotel room, kinda like Rear Window, that has great effect on the audience feeling what the characters feel, the horror will be that much more horrific. I'm looking forward to this one, and I'm sick of all these crap horror films or wannabe horror films, e.i. The Hitcher? Texas Chainsaw #34? Blood and Chocolate? The Grudge 2? How do they get money to make such crap? I wouldn't wipe my ass with those films...but I digress, this looks good!

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 2:45 p.m. CST

    can't be worse than Dreamcatcher or Hearts In Atlantis

    by Amy Chasing

    but then I like The Shawshank Redemption if that's an indication of my taste direction. hehe - I like how they advertised Dreamcatcher (a feature film with bonus short "Final Flight Of The Osiris"). Should have advertised it as 'FFOTO with bonus feature'.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 2:45 p.m. CST

    This Looks A Lot Better Than I Thought It Would

    by underscore_only

    Plus, am I the only one who thinks Cusack is turning into Dylan Moran?

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Dylan Moran..

    by Amy Chasing

    have you seen him live? he's *amazing* - I know people who talk and behave like him (ie. surrealist chatty with a glass of red in one hand and a cigarette in the other) but aren't half as funny as him. Maybe that's why I loved his live stuff - it was piss funny, and reminded me of the posers I've met.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 2:59 p.m. CST

    READ THE SHORT STORY!

    by Lovecraftfan

    I'm glad the movie is supposed to be great but please read the short story it's one of the scariest things King's ever written.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 3:41 p.m. CST

    I Hate Mick Garris.

    by Crimson King

    The only person who should be allowed to make movies out of Stephen King works is Frank Darabont.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 4:40 p.m. CST

    I dont see why they wouldn't wand them or search...

    by wolvenom

    which is why i think this is a plant... I've done security in the past for quite a few prescreenings and everyone of those movies we had to have a wand on hand incase someone brought a camera. we also always had night vision goggles on hand. I dont see any fucking intrusiveness about the procedure. People cant be trusted and they've proved that time and again with all fucking piracy going on today. So someone's personal privacy can go fuck themself if they want to go to a prescreening be prepared to be inspected for cameras.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Short story is great

    by Irresolute

    Plant Eater's review was good, I was hoping that it would be different from the 'scary quiet pale child' vibe i got from the end of the trailer.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 6:31 p.m. CST

    But does it work psychologically as in the short story?

    by Grinning White Skull

    The original King short story "burned" its horror into you (hint) without using the trite dead kid crap and making Cusack a grieving father. Casting Jackson was AGAINST the refined type of the hotel manager in the book (and he was a terrific character) and I believe it weakens the film's story for making him Jackson STRONG. Anyhoo, I hope for the best but it won't be the first (or last) time a new King film adaptation fell less than the hype.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 6:45 p.m. CST

    BSB ...

    by Shan

    ... I solved my incontinence problem years ago. It's funny, isn't. The running joke is that even Stephen King's Laundry List ends up as a film, which in a sense, this once was ...

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 7:26 p.m. CST

    "Oh and 1 X 4 X 8 = 32"

    by Kurutteru Yatsu

    And 1 X 4 X 0 X 8 = 0, which means I had nothing better to do than to type this.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 7:30 p.m. CST

    wolvenom

    by Kurutteru Yatsu

    You have a bright future with either the MPAA or Homeland Security. Or in a proctology textbook since it sounds like you've got your head up your ass.

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 8:14 p.m. CST

    THIS YEARS STEPHEN KING'S LAUNDRY

    by RKDN Del Sol

    ZOMG

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 8:41 p.m. CST

    Needful Things

    by bender7

    I want a new adaption of this story. One of Kings best

  • Jan. 27, 2007, 9:27 p.m. CST

    I liked Dreamcatcher: The Movie

    by veebeeyes

    Don't get me wrong, it was absolutely horrible, but I also thought that it was fucking hilarious. I need to buy that movie.

  • Jan. 28, 2007, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Re: Dreamcatcher

    by The Dum Guy

    It's actually good if you don't expect anything at all, wich sounds bi-polar, but having Jason Lee doing the stupidest thing you can do in a survival situation, and having Morgan Freeman vs. Tom Sizemore hamming it up... It has been a long time since a King adaption actually made a good movie, and that's counting the T.V. ones.

  • Jan. 28, 2007, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Feed Me Seymore, Feed Me!

    by sfezfilms

    This movie looks bad ass.

  • Jan. 28, 2007, 12:24 p.m. CST

    I just got off the phone with James Frey

    by Spandau Belly

    and he'd like to thank Stephan King for defending him and all other alcoholic million liars.

  • Jan. 29, 2007, 7 a.m. CST

    I just got off the phoe with Kellogs

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    and they said that cereal does not and never has come in "packets, IAmMrMonkey. what was hard to understand in the review? maybe your Hooked on Phonics lessons arent working

  • Jan. 29, 2007, 7:01 a.m. CST

    phone*

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    just a correction

  • Jan. 29, 2007, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Well, if Mori vouches for the guy...

    by Childe Roland

    ...then this review gives me hope. While I don't always agree with Mori, I trust his judgement when it comes to people's character and believe him to be a straight shooter. So this guy's glowing review makes me a little more than cautiously optimistic that someone has nailed a King translation for the first time since Shawshank. And, if true, it's doubly good news for my boys Cusack and Jackson, both of whome have needed a decent project for a while now.

  • Jan. 29, 2007, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Planteater's last fav was Dead Zone?

    by skimn

    ..and Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption, Misery and even The Green Mile were crap?? And after "heart-in-your-mouth terror" and "jumping out of your skin"....Rex Reed and Gene Shalit called, they want their reviewing style back. I hope what is basically a "haunted house" tale translates well in long form. It wasn't my favorite from "Everything's Eventual" anyway. I think TNT absolutely nailed Battleground and came pretty damn close second with the Autopsy story..

  • Jan. 29, 2007, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Samuel L. Jackson to say this in 1408 (SPOILER):

    by Mr Incredible

    "I'm tired of these motherfucking ghosts in this motherfucking hotel!"

  • Jan. 29, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Hey skimn, I mostly agree...

    by Childe Roland

    ...with your assessment of King's live-action adaptations (at least the ones you cited). I thought Green Mile dragged terribly as a movie, but it had the same problem as a serialized novel. But the others you mentioned were great stories brought to life expertly (except that autopsy eppy of Nightmares & Dreamscapes...John Boy just ruined it for me. I thought "The End of the Whole Mess" was pretty darned well done, though).

  • Jan. 29, 2007, 5:11 p.m. CST

    CheezEater

    by BannedOnTheRun

    Just saw the freaky daughter from the trailer in a TV ad for Cheez-Its. A sign?

  • Jan. 30, 2007, 11:06 a.m. CST

    The film looks wasome! Scares, great actors ....

    by kinghenryVIII

    What the fuck else do you want? And I read the short story - good stuff. And usually, adaptions of Kings books / stories suck ass - Dreamactcher, Depp and the Window movie? And what about the movie with the trucks - Maximum Overdrive (and King directed that, right?) The should remake Salems Lot into something good - not the TBS bullshit, though, the origonal one by Tobe Hopper still scares me but that due to seeing it when I was 8. An updated Salems Lot would rule. By the way, The Shinning was, hands down, the FUNNIEST movie ever. Jack turned that into a comedy.

  • Feb. 17, 2007, 12:36 a.m. CST

    cheezeater aint the girl

    by watcher1408

    the girl in the cheez-its is a different girl...people get them mixed up alot, that girl does lots of commercials....