The Movie Buffer

Wednesday, August 15, 2007



Here's the Spoiler!


Stephen King fans rejoice because yet another title from the master of horror has been moved from the pages to the screen. Cut from the same cloth as The Shining though not as menacing or foreboding, 1408 tells the story of a paranormal investigator/author Mike Enslin (played by John Cusack), who is writing a book on America’s famous haunted houses. When Mike receives a postcard about room 1408 at the Dolphin hotel, he decides that this would make an excellent final chapter. Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) is the manager of the Dolphin specifically in charge of handling all inquiries about room 1408. Mike remains steadfast in his skepticism, but as the movie progresses, he experiences events that defy all rational explanation.

This film certain earns a place among the good Stephen King films. The director, Mikael Hafstrom, does an excellent job crafting a cohesive film that harkens back to a more classic style of suspense. It balances exposition, tension and horror to hook and hold the audience. Hafstrom paid close attention not to include anything that wasn’t important to the tone or the suspense. It could have benefited from a little longer run time for more in depth, psychological look at the protagonist but in this shorter form it keeps attentions on alert.

Though it is a PG-13 film, this should not deter even the most seasoned of King fans from seeing it. There is a fair amount of horror but not the bloody mess that passes as horror these days.

Cusack plays his character well, but it’s pretty much the same kind of character he has played in many of his other films. He shows that he has mastered the brooding, cynical outcast. Jackson, who shows glimpses of his performance in Unbreakable, tones down his usual style and excels with this character. Cusack and Jackson have a great chemistry in this movie. When they first face off, you know there’s going to be trouble.

This film was surprising – with recent King films being lukewarm at best - it really delivered. I really enjoyed the film though the dialog was clichéd, not so much to take away from it, and a few of the visual effects and cuts were disjointed. It wasn’t nearly as sophisticated as The Shining or as creepy as It or Misery, but it was a great piece of film. It rates a 7/10 or a three and a half stars out of five.


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