Greetings Spillios, after a long delay, another review is ready. I know, I am not consistent but at least when I write a review I put all my heart and soul into it... or at least Jack Daniels. That always helps me! Well, I went through my DVD Collection only to be reminded of a film I haven't seen since I saw it in the cinema. I felt that it was very underrated and should be shining its spotlight down on everyone! So here is my review for the Stephen King Adaptation, 1408
Suspense is something that is truly difficult to find Hollywood cinema these days, using the same cheap tricks in a continuous loop to scare people. How many times have you seen ‘The Loud Noise’ or ‘The Jump’ technique used in modern horror movies? When all seemed lost and gone in Hollywood, a foreign director comes along (Mikael Håfstrom... I think?) and decides to adapt a Stephen King short story to make something just that little bit more special. 1408
was that product.
is a Stephen King adaptation. When I hear that term, I no longer know how to react. This could lead to either something fantastic or almost dire. You have the positives such as The Shawshank Redemption, Misery
and The Shining
and then you have the crapfests like Dreamcatcher
and Hearts of Atlantis.
So, without reading the source material, I was already a little unsure of the film’s plot. John Cusack plays a paranormal investigator, Mike Enslin, with plenty of book written on the subject. He goes to so-called haunted places and records his findings (and not in an over dramatically stupid way like the idiots on paranormal findings shows like ‘Most Haunted’).
Most of them turn out to be nothing or just optical illusions etc. So he usually writes exaggerations of them in his books, to make his life seem more meaningful and exciting. Even with his success as a horror novelist, he is still reminded of his past with his first book which seemed to have a lot more personal issues reflected in it (Maybe a reflection of Stephen King’s career?)
When Mike receives a mysterious invitation to stay in this haunted Hotel room, 1408, in New York City, he goes expecting the same old thing. When the Manager of the Hotel, played awesomely by the Man, Samuel L. Jackson, warns him and forces him to reconsider, Mike goes into the room to encounter a whole bunch of crazy paranormal activity that slowly pushes his sanity and will.
Now, I originally thought ‘A Haunted Hotel Room? Now, really? How scary will that be?’
It didn’t at first appear like it was an exciting plot, but as the film developed on and more time was spent in the room 1408, my view on this changed dramatically.
What this film really excels at, more so in the beginning, is present a terrifyingly unsettling atmosphere that make the viewer feel practically paranoid on what is going on around them. The tension is built slowly, thinking that everything around him is going to react strangely, which eventually does! Literally, from lamps, paintings, sofas… and even the alarm clock that scared me constantly throughout with its sudden bursts of creepiness. The techniques used in this film reminded me a lot of the ones used by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, with the looming camera, the intense story structure and twists, use of music and dynamic lighting. Even with all this going for it, by the later points in the film, it begins to dig into fantasy which I think ruined the build up, only to have it redeem itself at the end. It shifts into a deep character study of Mike, swimming deeply into his past and learning about the lose of his daughter and his broken family life. This was extremely interesting, making our hero seem a little more understanding, making him more than just a 1 dimensional character. Plus, it has helped the audience understand why he is doing what he does for a living. All this is done while dozens of creepy special effects, climate changes, extending walls, extra doors and more occur in this strange room.
The Acting in this film is abnormally top-notch with John Cusack really showing the world in this film that he is a true acting force and should be considered for more leading man roles. He always seemed to be put out of the mainstream limelight and goes for more independent projects which I commend him for. The majority of the film is just John Cusack alone in a room, sinking into a paranoid and insane state which is amazing to witness. SOMEONE GIVE HIM AN AWARD! … SERIOUSLY!
Samuel L. Jackson… is just Samuel L. Jackson… a constant bad-ass, even in an underused character like the Manager and everyone else in the film played their part well, truly expressing their sensitivity within the harsh environment.
Even though there were a few shaky plot-holes, 1408
is a movie filled to the brink with suspense. So much so, that there were moments that generally left me scared, rattled and uncomfortable. I left the cinema paranoid, confused and yet in awe. For those who like something a little more than gore in their horror movies and are intrigued by man’s endurance to their own sanity, then this is the film for you. The great thing about this movie is that overall, it is unique in terms to all the other horror movies out there and it is definitely one of the good Stephen King Adaptations that can be put on the list. Full of Tension, Excitement and Character Development… Truly an awesome watch and more than just a man in a box movie.
Now, I should go out and make my reservations… which room number should I go for?