Movie Title: 1408
Director: Mikael Håfström
Date Released: June 22nd, 2007
Date Seen: When it first came out and again on April 29th, 2013
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
A supernatural/psychological thriller following a “most haunted” writer, who thinks it’s all fake and silly, and his investigation of a haunted hotel room, obviously numbered 1408. Some very crazy things start to happen and the main character finds him questioning his own beliefs about whether or not ghosts actually are real. John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, the main character. He does a pretty good job, but I found him to be super unlikeable, so for about the first 1/2 of the movie, I honestly didn’t care what happened to him in the room because he was suck an annoying dickwad. But, he does go through a little character arc… kind of. His back story is pretty interesting so that helps a lot. Samuel L. Jackson, with some ridiculously sexy facial hair (like a goatee with white patches on the side, yeah, looking good), plays the hotel manager, Olin. He’s awesome, of course. That’s not really too unexpected. He does give the best line in the movie, referring to how he never said there are goes in the room. He just says “It’s an evil fucking room.” It’s great.
I found the movie slow moving on my second viewing, mostly just because I knew what was going to happen. I still find the premise cool, so I wanted to like it just as much as I did the first time, when I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but I didn’t, unfortunately. This viewing I did get to see it with the original ending, which I liked much better than the ending that was actually released in theaters. It’s a much darker ending than the theatrical ending. See below if you want to know the difference. Overall, if you haven’t seen it and you think the trailer looks good, then go ahead and watch it. But, if the movie has been spoiled for you or you’ve seen it before, there’s not much to see.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
There’s a good synopsis here.
The movie actually was pretty good about the hour time limit – as in I timed the “hour” (on the clock countdown) to be 57 and a half minutes. That’s a lot better than a number of movies do, where time passes either way slower than it should, or way faster than they should. So I liked that it was fairly accurate. I know that Mike’s time in the room was much longer than an hour, since the whole dream sequence a number of days, but still, it was a nice little touch.
Overall, the things that happen in the room aren’t *too* scary, other than a lot of jump scares. The guy who always appears behind him with the hammer is pretty jumpy scary. I found the part in the air vents to be the most creepy, because that guy chasing him scared the crap out of me. I do like when the paintings start to come alive and then the water starts pouring out of the ocean picture. That was the most memorable scene from the first time I watched it and one of the few individual scenes I distinctly remembered.
The theatrical ending is the one in which the firefighters pull Mike out of the room, he lives, and eventually he and his wife kind of get back together, and hear Katie on the tape. I always thought it was wrapped up too perfectly and not fitting with the movie. The original ending, which apparently test audiences thought was “too much of a downer” had Mike die in the room. Olin tries to take his now widowed wife the box of items that belonged to Mike, she doesn’t want them, so he listens to the tape and hears some of what went on. He also sees a flash of the burnt corpse of Mike. We then cut to a ghost-ish Mike, stuck in the room, hearing his daughter calling for him and going off to find her. I like this ending way better, and find it much more frightening. He didn’t beat the room this way.
A mediocre film that will creep you out once but has very little rewatchability and an mostly unlikeable main character. But, the premise is very interesting and certain scenes are good. So, if you find the trailer interesting watch it. If not, then go ahead and miss it.