1408 – USA, 2007

‘The Dolphin Hotel invites you to stay in any of its stunning rooms. Except one.’

1408 is a 2007 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Mikael Håfström from a screenplay by Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, based on Stephen King‘s 1999 short story of the same name. The movie stars John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub, Len Cariou, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., and Jasmine Jessica Anthony.

Plot:

Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a successful author who enjoys worldwide acclaim debunking supernatural phenomena — before he checks into the Dolphin Hotel, that is. Ignoring the warnings of the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson), he learns the meaning of real terror when he spends the night in a reputedly haunted room…

Reviews:

1408 is a nice little thriller, but you only need to see it once. It is quick and to the point… and dismissible. The film will probably remain a little film and won’t be remembered since it didn’t start a franchise and didn’t have a unique hitch…” JP Roscoe, Basement Rejects

“Mikael Håfström’s direction is not flashy but is rather effective. He gets into some Hitchcock-like shots and angles, a standard for suspense. He keeps the pace relatively quick, though the film does slow down in the final act. In fact, it fades, gradually, over time, never becoming bad or completely uninteresting, but it clearly loses steam as the movie progresses.” Martin Liebman, Blu-ray.com

” …it seems so genial about wanting to give you a good scare using mostly old reliable tricks, it has a robust sense of humor and the performances are fun and convincing. But its lack of cohesion turns it from the nice, tight, unassuming little ghost story it might have been and to a relatively pleasant but forgettable night at the multiplex.” Cinema de Merde

“Frequently, this leads to (intentional) laughs, as when he frantically uses his laptop to video conference his ex-wife (Mary McCormack), telling her to send police to Room 1408 looking for him. Even the standard triple fake-out twist ending, that’s part of the psychological horror film package each and every time these days, works as kind of a sidelong commentary on the whole notion of twisty endings.” Crushed by Inertia

“The movie offers some good “jump” scares, but there’s also an overall creepy nature to the film. And when Enslin is finally confronted with his personal demons, the movie creates a unique mixture of sadness and horror. But, I think that my favorite thing about 1408 is that it’s a mature horror movie.” Mike Long, DVD Sleuth

“Sure, this is pretty much an episode of The Twilight Zone, but it’s a really, really good episode of The Twilight Zone, largely because of the magic of Cusack, who shucks his usual irresistible gosh-darn charm for a mellow but muscular intensity that his fans may find surprisingly profound but equally watchable.” MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

1408 can be rated PG-13 and still frighten the crap out of viewers because of the way the director balances claustrophobia with suspense. Yet things never become too intense, which can be a danger with a movie like this. That’s where John Cusack shines through. Even in the midst of a personal apocalypse, he can utter a one-liner to break the tension.” James Berardinelli, Reel Views

“The mid-section of 1408 is saddled with tacky and needless special effects, but Hafstrom ratchets up the tension big time as Cusack pulls out all the stops in a performance way beyond frightfest duty.” Peter Travers. Rolling Stone

“One night in 1408 stretches out until it ends up feeling more like a routine three-day business trip. The scariest thing in it may be the way the clock radio has a way of turning itself on, loudly, of its own accord. The song is always the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Now that’s horror.” Stephanie Zacharek, Salon

“The room is a room of tangible horror. But it’s also a chamber of hallucination, a space outside time, and a place where the unconscious is unleashed. At times, it seems like a metaphor for a bad LSD trip.” Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Gate

Choice dialogue:

Gerald Olin: “Oh please, don’t act like a hurt schoolgirl.”

Mike Enslin:”Hotel rooms are a naturally creepy place. Don’t you think?”

Cast and characters:

  • John Cusack … Mike Enslin
  • Paul Birchard … Mr. Innkeeper
  • Margot Leicester … Mrs. Innkeeper
  • Walter Lewis … Book Store Cashier
  • Eric Meyers … Man #1 at Book Signing
  • David Nicholson … Man #2 at Book Signing
  • Holly Hayes … Lady at Book Signing
  • Alexandra Silber … Young Woman at Book Signing
  • Johann Urb … Surfer Dude
  • Andrew Lee Potts … Mailbox Guy
  • Tony Shalhoub … Sam Farrell
  • Emily Harvey … Secretary
  • Bill Armstrong … Clay the Lawyer (as William Armstrong)
  • Kim Thomson … Desk Clerk
  • Drew Powell … Assistant Hotel Manager
  • Noah Lee Margetts … Bellboy
  • Samuel L. Jackson … Gerald Olin
  • Gil Cohen-Alloro … Maitre D’
  • Isiah Whitlock Jr. … Hotel Engineer
  • Benny Urquidez … Claw Hammer Maniac
  • Mary McCormack … Lily
  • Jessica Anthony … Katie
  • Len Cariou … Mike’s Father
  • Ray Nicholas … Factory Owner
  • Tina Maskell … 1950s Lady
  • Paul Kasey … Kevin O’Malley
  • George Cottle … Mailbox Worker
  • Julian Spencer … Mailbox Worker
  • William Willoughby … Mailbox Worker (as Will Willoughby)
  • Angel Oquendo … Taxi Cab Driver
  • Thomas A. McMahon … Cop #1
  • Anthony C. Mazza … Cop #2 (as Anthony Mazza)
  • Chris Carey … Fireman
  • Kevin Dobson … Priest

Technical credits:

104 minutes | 114 minutes (director’s cut) | 2.35 : 1 |  SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Box office:

1408 took $131,998,242 worldwide on an estimated budget of $25 million.

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