Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. And this one’s from a long-time talkbacker. No. Tougher. Audience. I really loved EVIL by this same director, so I have high hopes that he’s pulled something special off with a short story that was one of King’s best recent works. Did he do it?
Hey Moriarty, Bobo_Vision here. I've been a talkbacker for a few years so I'm happy to finally be able to contribute a scoop to this site. I attended an early screening of the movie '1408' starring John Cusack and Sam Jackson based on a Stephen King short story to be released this summer. I'll keep this review spoiler-free. John Cusack plays a writer who has made a living out of writing books reviewing haunted places. This is a commercial gig for him but a departure from the style of writing he used to do, and he himself is a cynic when it comes to ghosts. He simply spends the night in these places, gets the history while recording his observations in a tape recorder, and then delivers what his readers want giving a top ten of the scariest lighthouses, graveyards, etc. He gets a scoop on a Haunted Hotel room '1408', in a posh New York Hotel called the 'Dolphin'. He is met by the Hotel Manager played by Samuel Jackson who tries to talk him out of staying there. He tells him of the room's history and all those who died there before (all suicides), including showing him police photographs of their bodies, and warns him that no one has lived more than an hour in that room. Cusack assumes this is the typical story offered up by hotel management in an attempt to sell the spook story since his books increase revenues at these places. Jackson even has a great one liner, when asked if he would describe the presence as ghosts, spirits, or specters, he replies, "Its an evil fucking room". The film takes off from the start, and for most of the rest of the movie, its just Cusack alone in the hotel room. You might be wondering, how exciting could that be, and what could possibly happen within the confines of a hotel room to keep one entertained for an entire movie, but from the moment he enters, you'll be on the edge of your seat until the end. The occurences start out minor, with the radio turning on, and the toilet paper roll being changed, and mints being placed on the pillow, and Cusack shrugs it off. But then the window sill slams on his hand causing it to gush blood and the suddenly clock resets itself and starts counting down from one hour (the amount of time before a person dies in that room). Thats when he decides he's had enough and tries to get out, but he discovers there's no exit. He's trapped. From this point on, Cusack tries to escape from the room while he is terrorized in many different forms. He wonders if he's dreaming or hallucinating, and is never quite sure, but his fear is real. You are in the room with him, and you feel it. I was reminded of Bill Murray in GroundHog's Day where an eternity in Pucksatawney (sp?) causes him to commit suicide. Pucksatawney was heaven compared to room 1408. Cusack descends into the 9th circle of hell. At first you wonder what could drive people to kill themselves in that room, or if the room killed them making it seem like a suicide, but as the movie progresses, you start to feel how death may actually be preferrable to the constant terror of that room. Cusack has his own inner demons with a daughter who died of an illness and a wife he's separated from, and during the course of his stay in this room, he is confronted with these demons. His estranged wife even comes to the hotel when he contacts her via his laptop. The movie keeps you guessing from start to finish, and you never know if he will get out of the room or not, and when you think you've figured it out, you're wrong. Ultimately, its a great movie, with a good story, a lot of suspense, and a satisfying ending. Its been a long time since I went to the movie and was genuinely scared by a movie. This delivers on all counts. Great flick! Bobo_Vision