Monday, October 27, 2008

Checkout time is at never o'clock

We started watching "1408" last week, but got sidelined by other things (like sleep) so we finished it last night.

I liked this one a lot. It is based on Stephen King's short story by the same name, and it is not really a horror movie, and definitely not a slasher movie. This is just a ripping good yarn about a haunted hotel room. No real spoilers here, just a short synopsis.

Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a writer who pens books about various haunted places...and usually debunks the myth. He has an air of cynicism about him, and when asked at a book signing if he's saying that there is no such things as ghosts, he says no, he's not saying that...but he's never seen one. He gets a lead about The Dolphin Hotel in New York City, specifically Room 1408 (note that it adds up to 13), and when he calls to book the room, he's told repeatedly that it is not available for booking. He makes arrangements to meet the hotel manager, Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), and heads to New York.

Mr. Olin refuses to book him into the room, and reluctantly tells Enslin some of the history of the room. In the history of the hotel, there have been over 50 deaths, some of them quite gruesome. When Enslin wonders what kind of phantom resides in Room 1408, Olin tells him he's never said there was any kind of's just an evil f***ing room. Olin tries to bribe Enslin with some superb whiskey, as well as the complete files on 1408, but Enslin is determined to stay in that room, and after he threatens legal action, Olin relents, although he says he doesn't want to have to "clean up the mess." He tells Enslin that no one has lasted more than an hour in the room.

At first glance, the room is completely innocuous, and Enslin is not impressed. When he looks into the mini-bar fridge, he says, "Eight dollars for beer nuts? This room is evil." (One of the best lines in the movie, in my opinion!) As he describes the room into his voice recorder, he says, "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?"

The first sign of trouble comes when he gets turndown service while he was looking out the window...but no one was in the room. It gets worse when he's relaxing on the bed, and the clock radio begins blaring "We've Only Just Begun" by the Carpenters (horrific, indeed!) and a 60-minute countdown commences. It gets worse from there, and it becomes obvious that the room is able to prey upon universal fears, as well as some that are very personal and damaging for Enslin. He struggles to maintain his sanity while in the grip of the evil room, and is successful...sort of.

I also enjoyed "Vacancy," the movie about a hotel off the beaten path and the psychopaths who run it, so apparently I have a thing for creepy hotels! "1408" was an all-around good, spooky movie that scares you more with psychological terror than anything else. One of the scariest scenes for me was when he's trying to escape the room and decides he will walk the ledge outside (13 stories up, remember) to the next room and get in through the window.

Spoiler Ahead

He paces off the distance to the adjoining room's wall, and estimates how far he will have to walk to get to the window. He makes it out to the ledge, begins edging along, watching his feet but trying not to look down to the street, and when he thinks he should be getting close, he looks up to see the window...and there are no windows at all. Just an endless brick wall as far as he can see. Creepy!

End of Spoiler

I also love the line about wondering how many people have slept in the bed, how many were sick, and how many actually died. If that doesn't give you the heebie-jeebies the next time you stay in a hotel, I don't know what will!

John Cusack is one of my favorite actors (this made me want to watch "Grosse Pointe Blank" again), and he doesn't disappoint in this one. And Samuel L. Jackson always has that slightly evil look to him, and that works well here. If you're looking for a good scary movie to watch for Halloween, one that isn't really gory, I think this one might work for you. Turn out the lights and enter Room 1408. Enjoy your stay.



  1. It was good. We need to make a movie date for Saw V :o)

  2. Ohhh I don't like scary movies but I might could go for this thriller.

  3. Oh holy crap, I am scared just watching the trailer..I have goosebumps!! I am definately going to get that movie, it looks awesome and I like John Cusack too.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  4. The movie sounds like one I'd like. My question's it filmed? After Quarantined ~ I don't think I could handle another one filmed like that!

  5. I knew you would love this one. I was surprised it was actually a good film based on something Stephen King wrote. They don't usually live up to the book very well. This one did! It goes up there with the original Shining (which I'm renting Halloween) and Carrie. (Hugs)Indigo

  6. I liked the movie right up until the final scenes, when I think it went all lame-o.


  7. hi beth, sounds good, i am not good with scary stuff anymore but i like stephen king i am waiting for the fog to come out on DVD I told that story during my nephews birth, my sister had been knocked out so i told the midwife, my mum and BIL the story, the midwife would leave till the end!!!lol take care mrs t xx

  8. I will be renting this movie, I have been wanting to for the longest time. It sounds good, and we like John Cusack too. I love "GrossPoint Blank", and own it. You said you like Westerns, then you might want to check out "Jack Bull"? It stars him as well, and it wasn't half bad! I really love Joan Cusack as well, and let me ask you was she in this film too! HA HA


  9. I love John Cusack ! I saw this movie and agree with you.
    I'll have to check out GrossPoint Blank.
    Take Care

  10. I remember enjoying this movie too, but can't remember the ending for some reason.

  11. Thank you for this great review. I have the collection of short stories that contains "1408," and really enjoyed the story. I'm thrilled to hear that they've turned it into a good movie. I also like Cusack and I've seen "Grosse Pointe Blank" more than once. I plan to rent "1408," for Halloween.

  12. When Susan is working in Atlanta we stay in a I haven't watched this movie...yet. Not sure if I wanna watch it or not! LOL
    love ya,

  13. Rick and i saw this earlier this year and LOVED LOVED it! XO


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