Rotten Tomatoes

1408 (2007)
movie review by Linda Cook, Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Rating: FRESH (3/4)

06/24/07 - Rotten Tomatoes

You'll want to check out room "1408."That is, if you like a solid horror story, fine performances and Stephen King tales.

3 stars

You'll want to check out room "1408."

That is, if you like a solid horror story, fine performances and Stephen King tales.

King wrote this "Twilight-Zone"-y spree. And who better than John Cusack to deliver it to audiences who will be on the edges of their seats?

In the Quad-Cities, the movie is particularly timely in an eerie way. Just a few weeks back, author Chad Lewis, co-author of "The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations," discussed allegedly haunted places in Iowa to a standing-room-only crowd at the Davenport Public Library-Fairmount Street.

Likewise, Cusack plays Mike Enslin, a writer who visits haunted hotels and writes about the paranormal activity that he finds there. Just as Lewis said during his presentation, the character of Mike Enslin says that he personally has not experienced a haunting (Enslin, however, does not draw the crowd that Lewis did).

But when he receives a postcard indicating that room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York is haunted, Enslin prepares to travel there. The hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson) tries to talk Enslin out of staying in the room. He tells the skeptical writer that no one has lasted for more than an hour in 1408, and that more than 50 people have died in there.

Enslin checks in to the room anyway, and at first isn't impressed by his surroundings. But little things begin to happen: The Carpenters inexplicably begin to sing "We've Only Just Begin" (a cleverly placed song) on the clock radio, which begins ticking down the hour. A roll of bathroom tissue isn't the way Enslin left it when he returns.
And then all you-know-what breaks loose, and Enslin finds himself trapped in a room in which very well may spend his final moments.

The script wisely delays character development until Enslin is deep in the throes of the haunting %u2013 that's when he literally begins to face his own demons.

The movie, justifiably rated PG-13, is a true horror movie %u2013 not exploitive horror porn filled with torture and gore. It's not meant to gross you out, it's meant to scare the daylights out of you, and it does that successfully.

It's a nice King screen adaptation with a creepy ending that will give you something to talk about when you leave the theater%u2026and go home to turn on all the lights.

Running time: Ninety-four minutes.
Rated: PG-13 for violence, foul language and scenes of death.
Stars: John Cusack, Mary McCormack and Samuel L. Jackson.
Director: Mikael Håfström.
Screenwriter: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, based on a story by Stephen King.

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