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Another Spy Sees 1408 And Says, “Not So Fast”...

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. We had a couple more people pop up with reviews of 1408, the new Stephen King thriller, towards the end of the week. Despite the idiotic talkback that insists on labeling every single contributor now a “plant,” I can confirm that those were real reviews. From normal film fans. And that’s really what they thought of them. But we’ve got another review today from someone who felt very differently about the film, and wants to make sure his voice is heard, too...

Hey I don’t know if you need something along these lines, but I think you do. I’ve read two really positive reviews on AICN for the movie I just saw, 1408. And it needs to be said, those writers are either plants, drunk, or both. Or maybe the film’s been changed significantly since this winter. The bottom line, though, is that it is a bit of a mess. I don’t really like to do much plot summary if it’s avoidable. Luckily there’s not much work to be done with 1408. John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, author of books about haunted places who’s never actually seen any real paranormal activity. He goes to room 1408 of the fictional Dolphin Hotel in NYC and there he sees real paranormal activity. And … that’s pretty much the plot. Which would be fine if 1408 was actually as scary as these other writers suggest. And/or if the supernatural aspect of the film had some kind of pay-off. Neither is the case. There are some scary moments, but without a real dramatic context (more on that in a second) it starts to feel mechanical, like a mediocre haunted house ride. And I am all for leaving some mystery to movies like this, but 1408 doesn’t even have a hint of an attempt to show us what, in fact is going on in the titular room. It becomes a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The dramatic context I mentioned, or lack thereof, consists of flashbacks revealing Enslin’s so-sad past. Fair enough, but it feels tacked on, as if the filmmakers felt they needed an emotional hook but were too busy piling on the (very loud) jump scares to really give this back-story the attention it needed. As a result, it’s distracting at least, and disingenuous at worst. The acting is fine, if sometimes overwrought. And I’m talking about Cusack here, since the other leads are in the film maybe 20 minutes combined. Samuel Jackson did initially make me think the movie was going to be better than it ended up being, by sheer force of his Sam Jackson-ness. Mary McCormack’s character is a cardboard cut-out; there’s nothing to be done with it and McCormack does just that. Overall 1408 is jumbled and not very intriguing. There is nothing to wonder at, or about, and I think that's a fundamental failure for a supernatural horror film. I should also say the trailer for this film gives away farrrrrrr too much, especially the only “twist” in the whole movie. So that annoyed me (and also I was seated next to three very chatty middle aged women who narrated as the movie played - thanks ladies!) So maybe I am a little biased. I do think it’s possible that editing could make this more cohesive; it depends on what footage they have lying around I guess. I’ve written a few times before but I forget what name(s) I used. So please call me Changeling if you use this. If that’s taken call me Johnny Frog. If that's taken call me Kid Kilowatt. If that's taken call me Sandwich Hoarder. If that's taken call me The Human Tamale. If that's taken call me Cigarette Tricks. If that's taken, by god, call me Frou-Frou.
Readers Talkback
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  • May 7, 2007, 6:01 a.m. CST


    by Riggy469


  • May 7, 2007, 6:06 a.m. CST


    by Riggy469

    I guess it wasn't just me who thought that the trailer appeared to show too much. I really hope there is more left to the film, cause I really loved the trailer.

  • May 7, 2007, 6:40 a.m. CST


    by 3rdrate

    you guys are blind

  • May 7, 2007, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Becoming a greenhouse in here..

    by Jugs


  • May 7, 2007, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Reverso Jedi Plant?

    by kikuchiyoboy

    "Or maybe the film’s been changed significantly since this winter. The bottom line, though, is that it is a bit of a mess." <br> <br> This film will now get the "I am intrigued" treatment after one polar oposite review. I think they're all the same dude. They're all secretly Ebert. <br> <br> Or not.

  • May 7, 2007, 9:24 a.m. CST


    by Osmosis Jones


  • May 7, 2007, 9:30 a.m. CST

    so... NO poop outta yer bum?!!?

    by jimmy rabbitte I was really looking forward to this one.

  • May 7, 2007, 10:44 a.m. CST

    I had my doubts

    by LizardKing69

    to begin with. although I think that 1408 is Kings scariest short story, history has shown that his horror generally doesn't do well on screen. Especially since this is one of his short stories, there isn't enough to justify a full length movie. This story would've done well as a segment in some horror anthology instead.

  • May 7, 2007, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Osmosis Jones

    by snomusic

    Special kudos to you my friend - Man in Suite - That was very punny - and I LOVE punny. Personally, I look forward to the film specifically because I dig Cusak and some of King's stuff. The plant posts are seriously starting to tick me off to no end. Only BSB's post is forgivable since I believe it was a humor based post, otherwise everyone can stop shoveling their plant uh....fertilizer.

  • May 7, 2007, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Not a Plant ...

    by Kid Kilowatt

    Does that actually happen? People plant NEGATIVE reviews? Pretty funny, anyways I wrote the review and am not a plant. I just thought the movie wasn't good. Started off okay, then lost the plot (literally). If you see it you'll see, I'd be surprised if 1408 is successful. <p> I'd like to thank Moriarty for posting my review btw, after I bugged him and Quint unnecessarily. I feel like I can rest easy now, knowing the people have been informed ... hahaha

  • May 7, 2007, 11:22 a.m. CST

    ”Moriarty” = Plant

    by bubbha

    Think about it.

  • May 7, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST

    mechanical, like a mediocre haunted house ride

    by Napoleon Park

    And we know an amusement park ride could never be turned into an entertaining picture, right Pirates of the Carribbean?

  • May 7, 2007, 12:02 p.m. CST

    I was very intrigued by the preview.

    by Kid Kilowatt

    I thought the movie had a chance of being good. Eh, go see it for yourself.

  • May 7, 2007, 12:13 p.m. CST


    by Err

    They purposely want us to see other films. They're from rival studio companies. BLASPHEMY!

  • May 7, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST

    I HATE loud/sudden noises substituting for real scares

    by Moa Kaka

    All it does is upset my Ausperger's syndrome.

  • May 7, 2007, 12:54 p.m. CST

    I laughed my ass off at the trailer

    by Spandau Belly

    it was just ten minutes of Cusak doing scream reaction test shots and some other images from The Ring and stuff edited between. This looks terrible!

  • May 7, 2007, 1:07 p.m. CST


    by TheDohDoh

    I'm not sure what's happening with this site, where the TalkBackers are being cracked-on more and more for exhibiting the type of constructive, if slightly cynical (hey, we've burned plenty), commentary and passionate doubts about upcoming genre movies that Harry and Moriarty used to. Harry used to call for certain filmmakers heads on sticks. Now, he'll let word of a PG-13 Die Hard wisp by like it's another Paul Walker opus. As for the Plants, I remember when AICN staff used to have doubts about overly-enthusiastic, suspiciously worded reviews sent it. It's not like Plants don't exist Moriarty. And IT'S IRONIC BECAUSE THIS REVIEW EVEN SAYS THAT THOSE OTHER TWO REVIEWS SEEMED LIKE PLANTS, HENCE THE ENTIRE PURPOSE FOR THIS ONE. Sometimes it feels like the TalkBackers are what keep this site's spirit remaining like the ol' muckraking, industry-knocking days. I guess once you get into the film industry, you gradually become THEM and not US. Shit happens, but don't knock us for spending our time here and adding another dimension to the site.

  • May 7, 2007, 2:14 p.m. CST

    1408 gets me all MISTy eyed.

    by CyberVishnu

    1408 and The Mist are two of King's best stories and they are both being adapted by talented filmmakers. So don't act like Stephen King won't be owning your nutsack by year's end. This plant is more obvious than Stephen King's abandoned story "THE PLANT!"

  • May 7, 2007, 5:45 p.m. CST

    No surprise here.

    by Vergil

    It's Stephen King. He doesn't like backstory. He rarely has a REASON what what goes on in his stories. He tried in It, and came up with inventing an entire comsmology including the two most powerful beings in the universe one of which for some reason likes to scare little kids in a sleepy little town. The Mist is a perfect example. No reason for the 'monsters'. None. Zilch. For whatever reason, lots of people still like him (hell, even I "like" him, just hate his stories). Point being: if you like watching death and destruction just for its own sake, you will probably like his stories, and apparently this movie. For me, it's like reading a Sherlock Holmes story that ends: "I have no idea what killed him Watson. But wasn't it fun watching him die?" No thanks.

  • May 7, 2007, 5:48 p.m. CST

    And for the record

    by Vergil

    Just how many of the cries of "PLANT!" have been shown to be true? I know that it happened once. Probably a time or two more. But you amateur sluths just end up sounding like idiots when you have no idea one way or the other.

  • May 7, 2007, 7:15 p.m. CST

    This kind of review should be known as a weed

    by Doc_Strange

    Still kind of a plant but thrown in to make sure the reviews aren't overwhelmingly positive in order to balance out a film. Fuck, I'm sleepy and I have no idea what I'm saying anymore. G'nite.

  • May 7, 2007, 7:35 p.m. CST

    God Must Love John Cusack Movies

    by atleastwebrits

    Because He makes so many of them. Next stop for Johnny: Sell-Out Voice Overs and a TV series!

  • May 7, 2007, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Vergil- Thats some off base generalizations there

    by Lovecraftfan

    More Stephen King hate. Wow whata surprise. Death and desctruction for no reason. I guess you haven't read half of his books. Considering most of his books now are either out right drama or drama with little horror I have no idea how that statement makes any sense. People read for his deeply felt characters and engrossing storylines not death and destruction.

  • May 8, 2007, 1:32 a.m. CST

    And another thing Virgil...

    by snomusic

    Try reading <i>It</i>, there's so much backstory in that book and the history of Derry, he doesn't need to ever do it again - lol. Seriously though, ya don't know what yer talking about, dude.

  • May 9, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    How can they stretch this story out to 2 hours

    by meckleboy

    Come on its a great story but it wasnt too long. They may have to alter it or add on like in Shawshank redemption.I am more interested in seeing the Mist. And I swear to every one if this movie bombs I will unleash a Zombie infection on this world.