Riverview Theater 8/7/07 Score: 8
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, with it’s boasting of being based on a short story by Stephen King, I was skeptical about having a good time. It was, although, quite a coup-de-force for John Cusack, with good acting and some twists and turns that were hard to spot in advance.
1408 starts in a hotel that is definitely not the hotel whose room is the namesake of the movie - it is much too small to have 13 floors. Mike Enslin (Cusack) is a paranormal writer who goes around to hotels that claim paranormal activity and sits up in them reviewing, checking out their creepiness factor (“4 skulls”, on a sliding scale of course). He is a skeptic about the paranormal, as the standard character is. Adding to the list of check-off qualities is divorcee and devoid of purpose in life. He returns to his home in California somewhere and picks up his mail to receive a postcard with the words “Don’t enter 1408” on it.
1408 adds up to 13, and also resides on the 13th floor of any hotel, as they skip the 13th floor for superstitious and sales reasons. As it is part of his job and is piqued to his interest, he tries to call the manager (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and is turned down. Suffice to say he finally gets in the room after quite the ordeal.
Now up to this point, the movie is typical horror movie schtick setup. Oooo, scary room. But soon after the room starts turning on our protaganist is when this movie takes a turn for the better. Cusack is absolutely perfect cast in this role and he plays the part quite well, and considering he is the only one actually shot on the film of this set for a very long portion of this movie, it is quite the feat and shows a lot of his range.
1408 sets up with what would seem like a cookie-cutter horror movie, and has some predictable twists, but has some surprises up its sleeve that are completely unexpected and had me jumping in my seat. The room effortlessly destroys itself trying to kill Enslin, to the point that you ask yourself how much longer can it go without losing any semblance of a room. Top it all off with a brilliant performance by Cusack and this movie gets a solid 8 on my scale.