Review: 1408 (2007)

1408_mech_052407.indd

“They say you can’t die in your dreams… is that true?”
– Mike Enslin

Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a washout author of true supernatural events. Since his daughter Katie’s (Jasmine Jessica Anthony) death and split from his wife Lily (Mary McCormack) he has become rather embittered and disenchanted with the world. He does not believe in hauntings, etc. though he makes his bread and butter from it. While on a book signing tour, he received a postcard titillating about room 1408 at The Dolphin, a hotel in New York City. Naturally Mike moves on to go and see what is so “haunted” about this hotel. Nobody wants to give him a room, and eventually Mike resorts to quoting the law. Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson) is the hotel manager, and tries his best to dissuade Mike from staying in 1408. Mike has done his research, and knows that some strange things have happened here, but is unconvinced of its authenticity.

1408 mike researching and working

“Hotels are a naturally creepy place… Just think, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many… died?” – Mike Enslin

Olin really makes things difficult for Mike, and Mike is sure that Olin is only hyping the place up, and ultimately makes the decision to stay in 1408, no matter what Olin has to say. Olin tells Mike that fifty six people have died in 1408 over the past ninety five years, and that most of them couldn’t even survive their first hour. Olin has done all he can to warn Mike off, and takes Mike up to the floor when Mike continually insists that there is nothing up there, that the paranormal does not exist. Mike enters the room and starts recording his findings on his little cassette player, making jokes and mockeries. The room is dull and mediocre, leading Mike to believe that there really is a ridiculous hype over nothing, just a ploy to bring in more customers.

1408 olin and mike arguing

“I will let you have this, give you access to my office, you can take notes and put it all in your book. My only condition… is that you do not stay in that room.” – Gerald Olin

Soon, though, things start to go wrong. Little things, nothing too major, and Mike is convinced that someone is playing with him, holding Olin accountable for the trickery. The digital clock in the room later flicks to “60:00”, and Mike finds it humourous that he has a timer now to count down whether or not he can brave an hour. However, it soon turns out that something may very well be wrong with the room, and Mike can no longer disregard the obviously supernatural occurrences surrounding him. Spectral hallucinations take the front and centre and terrible nightmarish thought occur to him. Mike has also found that he cannot leave the room, and desperately tries to contact Lily, his estranged wife.

1408 mike and the noose

“Why do you think people believe in ghosts? For fun? No. It’s the prospect of something after death.” – Gerald Olin

Is 1408 truly haunted? Will Olin come to Mike’s aid, even after making it abundantly clear that he would not be involved with whatever happened? Will Mike survive his hour? Will he go on to write a book with a fresh finesse now that he has experienced something so blatantly supernatural? Does Mike now believe in the paranormal he has for so long refuted?

I would score 1408 a 7/10. I actually enjoyed this movie up until the point where it got messy, but it went ahead and recovered itself, too, so it has a saving grace. Gotta say though the poster is utter rubbish. John Cusack played Mike Enslin so well – cocky, tired of life, and dispirited. Samuel L Jackson was quite entertaining as the hotel manager and gives a few laughs, as well as sets the tone for the formidable and sinister which he believes to reside in room 1408. Enslin’s total disregard for what could happen in there is what lends credibility to the events that do transpire. I thought it was well done when he walked through the rooms and it flashed the victims at their relevant places. The film was progressing just fine, and when things started going faulty in 1408 I could deal with it too. It was all good. But then it was sort of like it lost the plot halfway through, too much messed up and creepy tried to be squashed in, making it nothing short of overly annoying and slightly comical. The film does redeem itself, shockingly, towards the last quarter and manages to keep in with a good pace for the remainder of the duration and settled on a decent conclusion for the tale it told. All in all it was a lot of fun for what it was.

36 thoughts on “Review: 1408 (2007)

    • I really did like it! It was fun, though there was a section that was a little sketchy but recovered soon enough. However, in light of what I saw this weekend, I am reviewing this to a 7 (I watched and wrote this a few months ago). Oki there we go. It was quite a lot of fun!

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  1. After awhile, the novelty of seeing Cusack constantly get fucked around with, due to these spirits, gets a bit old. He milks it for all that he can, but it doesn’t really add to much. Good review Zoe.

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    • Thanks Dan! Yeah I enjoyed it, though there was a messy and unnecessary bit in the middle that got really bland. Aside from that, I enjoyed watching how it all came together.

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    • I had a good time with it though, but I can see how many didn’t. There was that one whole section in the middle that was just a mess, though, and that was what detracted for me a lot. This was a lot better than I expected it to be, especially after hearing it was mediocre and bland, I was pleasantly surprised!

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  2. Great review. Apparently there are two different endings to this film, and in one Cusack’s character becomes a ghost or something? I think this film is a little underrated, because some moments in it are actually very good and genuinely scary; the right atmosphere is also created and Cusack plays well.

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    • Thanks a lot! I am not sure which two there are, the one I saw he *SPOILERS FOR SOME* died and the room seemed defeated, though Olin saw something in his rearview mirror he had to laugh off. It is rather, it was a lot of fun and Cusack was great for the role!

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  3. Great review, Zoe! I just saw this movie for the first time last month, and it left a lot of questions. My boyfriend and I watched it together and afterwards we wound up debating what the deal was with the ending for almost 40 minutes! We’re still pretty torn about what they were trying to say with that ending…

    All I know for sure is that when Mike is looking out the window and then turns around and gets attacked by that creepy guy, we jumped right our of our seats!

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    • Thanks Smash! Sorry, WordPress has gotten to a place of sporadically letting me know when people are commenting!

      There were questions with the end, and someone said that there were two different endings for this, so who knows anymore?!

      LOL! Good times!

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  4. Really enjoyed this on cinema but never watched it again since… I was kind of put off by there being a different cut on DVD compared to what was shown in theatres. Still, need to see this again. Nice review.

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    • Thanks Craig! I had no idea there was a difference, so not quite sure which was the better ending. I didn’t mind the one that I saw though!

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  5. Yay! Glad you liked this one. It’s not the best horror out there, but I think it’s pretty good for what it is. I agree–it does get kind of messy here and there. Still fun though. 🙂 Nice review!

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  6. Pingback: » Movie Review – 1408 Fernby Films

  7. I love this movie! It has 3 different endings though and one of them not only sucks balls but is genuinely nonsensical to the plot and ruins another scene. It’s very odd. I like the ‘happy’ ending one 🙂 but the original was good too. Scary!

    Great horror movie though! I think this will be on my Halloween watch Iist!

    Great review Zoe and pics too!

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      • I really liked it yes, very good film! Shame about the endings but for the most part, it’s really good. I read the short story as well and that actually had a relatively happy ending that matched neither movie ending lol.

        I think I’m going to watch it tomorrow for Halloween movie fest 🙂 I’m really glad I read your excellent review as it reminded me of it!! My boyfriend isn’t really a film person either, but that’s one of the few ‘horror’ movies (along with Secret Window ha ha) he actually likes. So…we’re set!

        (sorry for the ramble)

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