1408 (2007) Horror Movie Review
Written By: Karla Cortes
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Mikael Håfström
Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Writers: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Date Released: June 22, 2007
John Cusack as Michael “Mike” Enslin
Samuel L. Jackson as Gerald Olin
Tony Shalhoub as Sam Farrell
Mary McCormack as Lilly Enslin
Jasmine Jessica Anthony as Katie Enslin
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Based on the Stephen King novel 1408, the film by Mikael Håfström portrays Michael Enslin (John Cusack), a well-known, cynical writer disinterested in the world after losing his daughter Katie (Jasmine Jessica Anthony). While simultaneously dealing with the death of his daughter and finding a haunted location to write about, Enslin receives a postcard warning him to not visit room 1408. This, in turn, peaks Enslin’s interest in the room and books a night at The Dolphin Hotel. After the manager of the hotel, Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), insists Enslin on changing his mind, he finally gives the key over after Enslin refuses his offers. After Enslin sets foot in the hotel room, he is thrown through a slow whirlwind of mental, psychological, and physical horrors beyond belief, all for the sake of a good story.
1408 does not include much when it comes to gore. There are a few scenes depicting gore like a man kicks an undead corpse in the face, shattering its face and a man’s hand is closed in a window that shuts on him. There are disturbing photos of people with slit throats (with blood surrounding the body, and with splatters on walls), one drowning victim underwater in a bathtub, and others with bloody wounds.
The Grave Review
John Cusack receives an acknowledgement for portraying the cynical writer exasperated by his mundane quest for a good story. As a whole, the film demonstrates how terrifying it can be to doubt the worst about something. Although he plays an enthralling character, his acting could be better improved. Cusack has always had the difficulty of pairing his facial expressions to high-pressured moments his characters are in. It is no surprise that he shows little change of expression in moments such as the room burning or paranormal events occurring.
The pace of the film is supposed to be slow at first then all at once towards the end. The audience is supposed to be able to follow along, yet have a sense of disorientation once Enslin sets foot in the hotel. It’s as if Håfström wants the audience to feel the same way that Enslin feels throughout his stay at the hotel. We see the story through the eyes of the protagonist and feel the antagonist’s presence once in the room of the hotel.
1408 (2007) is one of the gripping horror movies of the 2000s with many hidden meanings and clues that, if noticed, make the film far more admirable than at first glance. A constant theme throughout the film is number 13. Each number presented in the film adds to 13 such as the room number 1408, the number on the key lock 6214, the year 1912 where the first death in the room occurred, a verse from the Bible Chapter 11 of Samuel 2; 11 and 2, the DVD runtime is exactly 104 min and 8 sec, When he picks up the phone towards the end of the movie they say “this is 5” then “this is 8”, and even the number in the hotel’s address 2254 Lexington Street in New York City.
Aside from the numbers adding up to 13, the room itself is technically on the 13th floor since the elevator skips from 12 to 14 and the postcard that warns Enslin of not entering the room has the number 13 written on it. A clue that one might catch within the movie of Mike’s unfortunate destiny is on the bottle that Gerald Olin gives Mike is labeled “Les Cinquant Sept Décès” which translates to “The Fifty Seven Deaths” predicting that Mike will be the fifty-seventh person to die in room 1408. The film also infers to The Shining both figuratively and physically. Aside from both movies being based on Stephen King’s novels, the axe used by the fireman to tear down the door is the same axe used by Jack. Another aspect such as one of the victims in 1408 being named “Grady” which is the same name as a character in The Shining, also reminiscent of the film.
1408 (2007) encompassed horror by showing just how terrifying it is to lose one’s sense of reality. How the distortion of one’s perception by supernatural forces can affect far more than the physical being. 1408 (2007) is one of the few films who are able to depict its protagonist losing their mind in a way that still grabs the audience’s attention twelve years later.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives 1408 (2007) three graves out of five graves.
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