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1408 looks more and more like it'll scare the poop outta yer' bum!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I love this story, I love this cast and I love that the early word on this flick is positive. We've got two more reviews for you, fairly spoiler-free. I can't wait to see this flick!

hi aicners, i just came from a screening of 1408 down around union square. first let me start off by saying the line was a bit of a clusterfuck. they had two screenings, one at 7pm another at 7.45pm and only ONE line. so the people running this shindig took a long time to go through everyone's pass to see if they should be admitted early, or if they should just stand still and wait wait wait. finally they got it into their brains to separate the lines based on the time on your pass and after that all went smoothly and i got a kickass seat in the front third of the theatre, dead center. good for me. i was a bit hesitant about this movie, as i am with all stephen king adaptations. i love the man's books. he's by far my favorite story teller (although my favorite writer is the recently deceased Kurt Vonnegut). as we all know many of king's adaptations have turned into big steaming piles of sweet smelling horse turds. no matter the quality of the directors, writers or actors in the production, something that is the essence of a stephen king story is somehow omitted and the resulting film is lacking. usually his novels are so dense in character development that no movie could do those characters justice when the filmmakers are out for the cheap scare. this maybe be why king's short stories have the potential to make better adaptations than his novels. his short stories are obviously terse plot driven pieces that don't linger too much on the inner thoughts of the characters and instead get right into the action. a brief synopsis - cusak plays a guy who writes about haunted hotels and cemeteries and investigates the paranormal activity of room 1408 in the Dolphin hotel. this room has claimed 60something lives in its history. cusak thinks its all bs and boy does he find out the hard way that its not. i'm happy to say that 1408 does a good job of telling a taut, scary story, while having some good character development. even though cusak and sam the man jackson were cast in this story, i was not sold on their being able to pull it off. happily they each did what they had to do. cusak balanced his cynicism, pathos, and humor very well. i think he went through a greater range of emotions in than in anything other i can think of in his recent body of work. sam jackson was only in the movie for maybe 8 minutes, but those few minutes he was definitely on. his duty in the movie is to dissuade cusak from checking in, but of course he fails to do so (if he did this would have been a very boring 15 minute movie). once cusak gets settled into the room, this movie gets going in a very exciting, scary way. i will not give any spoilers, but gentlemen, this is a perfect date movie. there are about 5 good scares that will have your woman jumping into your lap. the audience was completely into this and people laughed and screamed together in unison at all the right places. the visuals were crisp but not showey. the music was not memorable at all (it may have been a temp soundtrack but i don't think so) but it was effective in seting the atmosphere and the scares. while nothing technically calls attention to itself, this is an overall solid production with good acting and thankfully good scares and a bit of sadness. highly recommended to stephen king fans and non-fans alike. if you like a good scare, go see it.

This one is even more positive!

Hi Harry, Last night I caught a screening of the new John Cusack movie, 1408. I will attempt to keep this as spoiler-free as possible because I think this is a movie that plays best when it surprises you. Now, I haven’t read the short story in quite some time but the writer seems to have taken the core elements of the story and made a really fleshed out movie. The plot is simple enough; John Cusack’s character, Mike Enslin, is a writer who specializes in writing second-rate haunted house guides. He finds supposedly haunted places and spends the night, afterward compiling his thoughts into books. One day he gets a post card telling him to avoid room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel in NY. Of course he can’t avoid it and so the real story begins when he steps in the room. Cusack’s character has some subtext in the movie surrounding his dead daughter, estranged wife, and his father. The movie introduces these topics without spending a whole lot of time feeding it to you. After the screening some people thought that there needed to be more explanation. Personally, I think that the only reason they needed more exposition was because they are used to having every plot point shoved down their throat. It was nice for a movie to actually give its audience some credit. Anyway, the events in Enslin’s life provide a lot of the emotional impact in the second half of the movie. It was great to have a horror/suspense film with a real character and some actual character development. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of humor in the movie. The first third was quite funny and the even once the room starts messing with Enslin they keep some humor going. I guess this is a good time to mention Samuel L. He has roughly 10 minutes of screen time in the whole movie. He plays the manager of the Dolphin and tries to convince Enslin not to stay in 1408. He is quite good in his part, and has one particularly great line. A lot of people at the screening were upset that there was not more of him in the movie, but he really wasn’t needed. This is Cusack’s show from beginning to end and he nails it. Cusack is on the screen 95% of the movie and his performance is critical to its success. He really makes you feel for Enslin. When he knows that he is in some deep shit I could actually feel his panic. He hits all the marks: terror, laughter, hysteria, grief, love, and the fuck you I’m not taking anymore of this. Now this is a horror/suspense movie, so how are the scares? They’re great! The first scare had the entire audience screaming. There are enough scares to keep it going, but the room also deals out a lot of mind-fucking and emotional-fucking to go with it. By the time the room is done with Enslin you understand why so many people have died in it. This movie is definitely worth watching and I will certainly see it again when it opens. The audience I saw it with loved it. There are some pacing issues at one point, but enough people in the focus group commented on it that it might get changed. Otherwise it was a great suspense movie along the lines of Identity. Chaginxin

Readers Talkback
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  • May 5, 2007, 2:51 a.m. CST

    can't wait for this

    by lucasjackson

    this short story creeps me out everytime I read it. I hope that really capture the creepiness.

  • May 5, 2007, 2:52 a.m. CST


    by Darth Fabulous

    Shitter's full!

  • May 5, 2007, 3:08 a.m. CST

    Fingers Xed

    by Brendon

    The script is top-notch... but will the film be? Sounds like it might at least be pretty darn good. Thank heavens.

  • May 5, 2007, 3:14 a.m. CST


    by DOGSOUP

    Ah Sam The Man,when you die you'll have a bronze statue with that one word engraved forever.

  • May 5, 2007, 3:22 a.m. CST

    F This...The Golden Age Trailer Is Up On Yahoo

    by Darth Fabulous

  • May 5, 2007, 3:45 a.m. CST

    Hey Darth Fabulous

    by CampKoala

    Do you get sound on that trailer? I tried watching it a week or so ago and got nothing

  • May 5, 2007, 3:56 a.m. CST


    by CampKoala

    found a Quicktime

  • May 5, 2007, 4:44 a.m. CST

    Anybody smell some nice new green plants growing

    by Wankersmurf

    Both of these are plants. you can smell the horse shit on them. But if that trailer is anything to go by, this film is going to be rad.

  • May 5, 2007, 4:52 a.m. CST

    Scare the poop out of me?

    by mrfan

    Good because I am one mother fucking constipated fool.

  • May 5, 2007, 5:30 a.m. CST

    Butt will

    by Napoleon Park

    the feces in my rectum be scared enough to stretch my sphincter open and exit my body through my anus? Also, what's the title of the sequel, "1408.2" or "1409"?

  • May 5, 2007, 5:50 a.m. CST

    In fact, this is a prequel

    by CorpseRide

    to '1492: Conquest of Paradise'.

  • May 5, 2007, 6:29 a.m. CST

    sounds interesting

    by Mr_X

    I like cusak, he's underrated, but actually a very good performer, might actually see this, plant or no plant

  • May 5, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST

    trailers give everything away

    by Jugdish

    why bother spending the 10 bucks?

  • May 5, 2007, 7:12 a.m. CST


    by Pennsy

    Yay or nay?

  • May 5, 2007, 7:50 a.m. CST


    by TheUglyBaby


  • May 5, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST


    by TheUglyBaby


  • May 5, 2007, 8 a.m. CST


    by darthnoodle

    i'm not a plant. arrogant jealous fool that you are thinks that everyone who goes to a screening and goes to a screening is a plant? maybe if you lived in a civilized area then there would be screenings and you could write a review rather than just throw out libelous statements.

  • May 5, 2007, 8:31 a.m. CST

    That first review is bs

    by The Funketeer

    I am I really expected to believe someone who can't even be bothered to capitalize?

  • May 5, 2007, 8:40 a.m. CST

    They basically have a blank canvas

    by I Dunno

    The original story is only 20 pages long and most of that is Sam Jackson trying to talk Cusack out of staying in the room. A lot is left to the imagination but there are a few creepy parts.

  • May 5, 2007, 8:58 a.m. CST


    by stabbim

    <p>We have killed all of your friends!</pP <p>*shudder*</p>

  • May 5, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    I'm guessing Plants

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    I was at that screening. It wasn't a very good movie.

  • May 5, 2007, 10:52 a.m. CST

    The trailer was kick ass

    by jimmy_009

    Definitely looked creepy.

  • May 5, 2007, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Dolphin Hotel

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Either Stephen King ripped off Haruki Murakami's Dolphin Hotel or named it thus because he's a fan of the Japanese writer, or it's just a coincidence. Has King said why he named it the Dolphin Hotel?

  • May 5, 2007, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Opening a creepy horror movie in JULY

    by Osmosis Jones

    BRILLIANT idea.

  • May 5, 2007, 11:17 a.m. CST

    So sick of

    by wanna_bannana

    People screaming PLANT! I mean shit comon boys, just because someone digs a flick does not mean they are a plant.<p>Some of you in these TB's are seriously mind blowing in terms of general stupid comments..and dumb catch phrases. I understand being a nerd, but some of you claim to be film nerds...but there is a dif between nerds and people with no lives, who need to bitch about everything and anything.

  • May 5, 2007, 11:23 a.m. CST

    1+4+0+8+JC = cornflakes

    by Mike_D

    did i do the math right? let me try again.

  • May 5, 2007, 11:39 a.m. CST


    by Dataset

    Marketing interns are brought into a conference room where they screen the movie for them. Each intern then is instructed to write an unprofessional review. They are told to use profanity and misspell words to better give the appearance of an "average" movie viewer. Research groups have a short list of talking points culled from online forums that are used to assist the interns to "fit in" with the desires of the online community. An example might read like this: "Michael Bay's Optimus Prime kicks so much robot ass that the flames don't just look cool, they look entirely justified on his fucking baddass self. The Bay haters will be kneeling and praying to him come July". So these are not studio plants, but a part of the marketing budget and contract that the studio signs with an outside entity. In most cases the studio doesn't even care how their marketing dollars are being spent, as long as they get results. This is a relatively new concept outside of politics that is almost exclusive to the online community. It's a brilliant idea and whomever came up with the use of these CoIntelPro tactics is a marketing genius. It's wrong, but marketing is a very amoral concept and this tactic is seen as a mere cheap tool to counteract bad press and begin an "online buzz" that they hope will deliver results at the box office.

  • May 5, 2007, 11:42 a.m. CST

    You guys just dont want to believe its a good movie

    by Lovecraftfan

    I dont know if its because of King hate or random cynicism but considering the overwhelming good reviews this looks like it may be quite good. Oh and the short story is great.

  • May 5, 2007, 12:05 p.m. CST

    emotional fucking?

    by triplefive

    the trailer is tight, except for the end. looks good to me.

  • May 5, 2007, 12:40 p.m. CST

    it'll scare the poop outta yer' bum!!!

    by jimmy rabbitte

    Cool... so a little oat bran, some extra fruit and a trip to the movies... just don't forget the Depends.

  • May 5, 2007, 12:53 p.m. CST

    "the visuals were crisp but not showey."

    by DocPazuzu

    Didn't Stephen King actually write a short story once called.... "The Plant"?

  • May 5, 2007, 1:07 p.m. CST

    dataset and docpazuzu

    by darthnoodle

    i assure you dataset i am not part of a marketing ploy. i'm just a guy who got a phone call asking if i'd like to go to a screening of this movie. i waited in line like every other person there for over an hour (in some cases over 4 hours). after the movie they gave us a card to fill out for us to rate the movie. at the end of the night i came home and wrote my first impressions of the movie. i don't capitalize online b/c i'm a lazy person. what's the point. this isn't exactly formal writing. docpazuzu, sorry you don't like my terminology. i never pretended to be a movie critic or any sort of competent writer. if i was i certainly wouldn't be writing critiques for free. i promise as i write more i will continue to work on my terminology. all i want is to make you happy. now that the bitching is over, relax and enjoy the fucking movie. or don't. i don't give a shit what you see and what you don't. i'm just giving my honest opinion.

  • May 5, 2007, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Oy! To me!

    by a rolling stone

    If you dug the Dark Tower series, pick up the Peter David comic. Jae Lee and Richard Isanove art--some of it's from the novels, but it adds Roland's untold stories, too. Pretty cool...if you're in to that kind of thing, which I am.

  • May 5, 2007, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Give the Weinsteins some time!!

    by godoffireinhell

    They're still working their scissors off to ruin this one as well.

  • May 5, 2007, 1:25 p.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    "once cusak gets settled into the room, this movie gets going in a very exciting, scary way. i will not give any spoilers, but gentlemen, this is a perfect date movie. there are about 5 good scares that will have your woman jumping into your lap. the audience was completely into this and people laughed and screamed together in unison at all the right places." <p> Let's just look at that paragraph for a moment and see how many plant tells are there, shall we? <p> 1) No spoilers. <p> 2) Attaching real life social activities to the film -- in this case attempting to recruit a broad, cross gender audience by calling it a "perfect date movie". <P> 3) Describing the rest of the audience's reaction to the film as if to say: "most people liked it, so if you don't, you're in the minority." <P> Please forgive me if you feel that three tells weren't enough, but then again I was only working with one paragraph.

  • May 5, 2007, 1:50 p.m. CST


    by gride9000


  • May 5, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Cusack and Morgan Freeman in The Contract is probably..

    by Alonzo Mosely

    a scarier experience, in that it is so awful it is scary. I wouldn't be surprised if that is never relased, if it is it will get dumped to dvd and given a marketing budget of $19.74...

  • May 5, 2007, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Wait til it gets a negative review. Then its a plant

    by Lovecraftfan

    Remember good reviews are plants and bad reviews aren't.

  • May 5, 2007, 3:12 p.m. CST

    it's not working, gride9000

    by I Dunno

    Worst. Attempt. At. Catchphrase. Ever.

  • May 5, 2007, 3:40 p.m. CST

    I like the King,


    and he is the King, but I always thought this was one of his weaker short stories.

  • May 5, 2007, 5:03 p.m. CST

    The Previews Compel Me To See It

    by MarkoOhNo

    I can't help it. It looks freaky. I'd say it's roughly based on King's hotel experience in Colorado while writing The Shining.

  • May 5, 2007, 8:26 p.m. CST


    by Dataset

    Good points, Doc. I'm no marketing guy, but you really can tell the plants. In my earlier post I was simply conjecturing a possibility. In discussions I've had since then, I think I'm closer to the facts than I thought. An old friend of mine called and remembered a class he took in some pre-law type class on Nazi and Communist propaganda. He said this was a usual thing then. People would actually write sixty or seventy letters to newspaper editors using different typewriters, handwriting, and writing styles. So I guess it's nothing new really.

  • May 5, 2007, 8:26 p.m. CST

    Yes I'm talking to myself

    by Dataset

    I have no friends...

  • May 5, 2007, 11:57 p.m. CST

    That's just sad

    by a rolling stone

    That's just sad :(

  • May 6, 2007, 1:51 a.m. CST

    Just got off the phone with 1408 and it's official...

    by Christopher3

    My friends are dead. I agree that most King works are too internal and overstuffed to make compelling cinema. This story is, however, the opposite - I can't imagine it being of much interest without significant embellishment.

  • May 6, 2007, 10:17 a.m. CST


    by Thunderbolt Ross

    This movie is NOT GOOD. I am very forgiving, usually just go along for the ride. It might be bearable if you go in expecting nothing, but with heightened expectations, you will be disappointed.

  • May 6, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST


    by PorkChopXpress

    The first one is a 100% giveaway, with the marketing language and the fact that they've purposely de-caps'd the start of every sentence, to seem more "amateur." I actually know people whose job it is to post on message boards to create marketing buzz, so when these people jump in talkbacks to defend themselves, don't just assume they're legit. It's their job to create a buzz online for movies nobody cares about, and this is one of them. "This is a movie that plays best when it surprises you." NO SHIT. That's like writing, of a comedy, "This is a movie that plays best when it's funny."

  • May 6, 2007, 10:52 a.m. CST

    i just want to see..

    by nolan bautista

    ..that lurid orange light thats described in the book..thats some kind of creepy shit..this writer fella..King? Stephen King? Is that his name? He's good at story-tellin'..He could make a career out of this if he works hard at it..

  • May 6, 2007, 11:02 a.m. CST

    i just want to see that ..

    by nolan bautista

    that lurid orange light described in the book..thats some pretty creepy shit right there!!..this fella..King? Stephen King is good at spinnin'yarns..he could make a living doin' this sort of thing if he works hard at it..

  • May 6, 2007, 11:10 a.m. CST

    i just posted twice on the same topic..

    by nolan bautista

    ..1408 is possesing my key board..its like the Tingler is loose in the computer..Scream!! for all your worth! Scream to repel this creature!!..(This stream of conciousness brought to you by William Castle Productions)

  • May 6, 2007, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Dataset & PorkChopXpress

    by DocPazuzu

    My favorite bit is when the plants, after having been mutilated in the TBs, show up in later "reviews" attempting to evolve and almost without exception address the things they were called on earlier, only they just. can't. get. it. right. No matter what they do, they are still in thrall to their studio whoremasters and MUST include the things these coke-addled marketing cunts think will "sell", thus making their attempts at geekese even more laughable.

  • May 6, 2007, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Stephen King your favorite storyteller.

    by samsquanch

    Stopped reading, stopped caring. Jesus.

  • May 6, 2007, 3:17 p.m. CST

    on plants...

    by maxwell's hammer

    I'm pretty sure the following talkbackers are plants:<BR> <BR> Doc Pazuzu<BR> Dataset<BR> PorkChopXPress<BR> <BR> The question is, who are they planting for? We may never know!<BR><BR> Seriously guys, get your heads out of your asses. God forbid somebody might go see a movie and like it enough to endorse it to other movie goers.

  • May 6, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST

    maxwell's hammer

    by DocPazuzu

    If the studios were smart, which they aren't, they would just hire a talkbacker as a plant instead of trying to sound like one. There have been plenty of reviews on AICN (most, I'd wager) which have been honest and not caused people to yell PLANT! Your comment points to one of two things: 1) that you're too dumb to see that it's not the positive/negative tilt of the plant reviews which pisses us off, or 2) you're one of them yourself, which your very infrequent postings do nothing to deny.

  • May 6, 2007, 4:06 p.m. CST


    by Osmosis Jones


  • May 6, 2007, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Plants For Sure

    by TheDohDoh

    Nobody writes like these fuckers except Plants. First comes two or three paragraphs filled with "all of our doubts" and then total exclamation about how the film bonks those notions and succeeds. The sentences are so winding and boring and unconfident and un-passionate, it's a dead give-a-way. Anyhow, I think this film looks okay. It reminds me of the first "House" film from the '80s, and I'm always a little skeptical about horror-adventure movies. It won't do particularly well this summer, as people ARE SICK OF SAMUEL JACKSON - dude, seriously take a break, jesus - and there's no big, catchy special effect in the trailers to get people to look at this instead of Transformers. Snow inside a hotel room does not a blockbuster horror-thriller-adventure make.

  • May 6, 2007, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Went to the screening too...

    by arisethedemonetrigan

    And got to speak afterward with 20 other people. I guess I looked like one to tell what I thought. I thought it was a fun little movie. Nothing spectacular except the fact that you actually like John Cusack's character. Special effects were basically done. But the worst part was the multiple surprise endings that I hate. With the final scare they always like to place. I made sure to point that out in the little discussion afterwards. But hell, if all of King's stories could be like this, I'd be a happy King fan.

  • May 6, 2007, 8:59 p.m. CST

    I don't watch movies or TV

    by OnusBone

    I just come here to read the talkbacks.

  • May 6, 2007, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Is John Cusack Dying?

    by atleastwebrits

    Working feverishly to leave a financial legacy for his family? Why else would he be making BOMB after BOMB after BOMB, all back-to-back? "Contract" not getting a theatrical release? Let's try an edgy indie comedy like "War, Inc." That didn't work? How about a smarmy 'family' movie like "Martian Child." No? Quick, do a horror picture, "1408," the kids love horror, yes? No? Okay, put him in some Oscar bait, "Grace Is Gone." Harvey will save him! What is going on with Cusack and his management team? I know he's an actor in his forties, but these scattershot choices stink of panic, greed and desperation.

  • May 7, 2007, 12:13 a.m. CST

    When I see a review written with no caps...

    by Lezbo Milk

    I don't fucking read it. If the writer is so retarded they can't even make an attempt at the basics, then I've got no fucking time to read anything they have to say. If plant actually use this tacktic to look more like a "amature"...what does that say about thier estimation of the intelligence level of the demographic for the movie? They are saying "if you're a dumbshit, you'll love this movie". Assholes.

  • May 7, 2007, 12:35 a.m. CST

    "An amateur"

    by Mister Man


  • May 7, 2007, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Plant!!..the big steamy tropical kind!!!

    by Jugs


  • May 7, 2007, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Doc Pazuzu

    by maxwell's hammer

    You're absolutely right...I'm not so cynical that I think every time someone shares their opinion on AICN that it must be a studio plant (BEWARE ALL OPINIONS!!)<BR> <BR> Also, my infrequent postings are certainly not a result of my having a life and a job and other things to do besides slum it in the talkbacks. Instead, its because I'm a plant, and possibyl a dumb asshole. Your logic is irrefutable.

  • May 7, 2007, 3:08 p.m. CST

    and also..

    by maxwell's hammer

    I misspelled 'possibyl' on purpose to make myself look more like an average Joe, just to throw you off!

  • May 8, 2007, 3:56 a.m. CST

    Jump scares = cheap and lazy

    by DarthBakpao

    i've been long giving up when it came to Hollywood's "horror" movies... they depend too much on "jump scares"

  • May 11, 2007, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Looks more like a typo...

    by justcheckin

    than a misspelled word. So, maybe you should say that you "misplaced the sequencing of your fingers" instead of misspelling the word. That way, you could look like an average Joe that can't type when someone pushes your angry button.

  • May 11, 2007, 11:26 p.m. CST

    and also...

    by justcheckin

    gride9000, your vagina would be lesbian, not gay.