This is a creepy movie through and through. It follows a haunted house-type storyline. However, it offers a fresh approach to the genre. Rather than having an entity to deal with or some ghosts to spook our hero, he has to survive the night in an evil room.
Our hero, Mike Enslin, is a depressed and bored ghost hunter that pens successful books on the subject of creepy attractions across the world. His writing leads him to the beautiful Dolphin Hotel in the overly cramped New York City. The Dolphin Hotel is notorious for the fifty six mysterious deaths that have all taken place in room 1408. Get it. 1 + 4 = 5 + 8 = 13. Riveting. The manager of the hotel pleads with Mike not to stay in the room. But of course he stays. Why wouldn't he.
This movie differs from other haunted house movies in a pretty big way. The manager says that there are no ghosts or demons. It is just
an evil fucking room.
This is scary on many levels. Firstly you are playing by the room's rules. Once you are inside of the room the outside world either seizes to exist or you do. There is a point in which our hero tells his wife that he is inside of the room, and she points out that the police are in the room and no one is there. I don't know if that is just a manifestation of the room itself, or if John Cusack wasn't playing in their realm anymore. Either way it was creepy.
This movie is scripted perfectly. It goes along at a really quick pace that is easy to follow and scary to watch. You start to identify with the main character really quickly. You see the trials that the room puts him through. I mean John Cusack turns in some really good acting. He drives the movie. It is well done. This movie also made me remember that Samuel L. Jackson has been pigeon-holed into always being Sam Jackson. I guess I don't mind it. He is bad ass either way. It's just funny to see Nick Fury managing a swanky hotel. The acting is solid.
The scares are really creepy and sometimes subtle. Not always though. The jump scares are few. This movie does a great job of dragging you in and almost putting you in his shoes. I can't watch the movie and not try to figure out what I would do in Cusack's situation. You start to lose your mind right alongside of him.
This movie didn't do well with the critics and the box office didn't treat it well either. However, this is one of the better Stephen King adaptations. Did I not mention that this was a King story. Oh yeah. I love it. This is a really solid movie with a great story, awesome script, fantastic acting. Oh, and it is scary. It creeps me out every time.
Even if you leave this room, you can never leave this room!
- The story this film was based on was almost never written. Stephen King originally created the first few pages of '1408' for his nonfiction book, "On Writing," as an example of how to revise a first draft. The story, however, intrigued him, and he wound up not only finishing a complete draft, but adapting it for an audio-book compilation of short stories.
- There are many references to the number "13" throughout the movie. The room is numbered "1408", add each number together equals 13. The room is on the 14th floor, and the Hotel skips the 13th floor, so the room is technically on the 13th floor. The room's key lock also has "6214" etched into it, which adds up to 13. And the first death was in the year 1912, which adds to 13. Even the film's American release date sums to 13: June 22, 2007.
- The axe the fireman uses to break down the hotel door at the end of the movie is the same axe that Jack Nicholson used in The Shining.