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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

1408

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Judy Thorburn

"1408" - Wall To Wall Spine Tingling Terror

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"1408" - WALL TO WALL SPINE TINGLING TERROR

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is an occult writer who travels around the world checking out hotels and places reported to be haunted by ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, not that he believes in such things. He’s never experienced anything of the sort first hand, nor does he believe in the existence of God or the afterlife. That went out the door the when his beautiful young daughter (Jasmine Anthony) was diagnosed with a fatal disease and died. Call Mike a skeptic as well as a debunker of the supernatural since all of his research and findings hasn’t resulted in any concrete proof, other than interesting content for the novels he writes, the most recent being the survival guide to “10 Haunted Hotels”.

But things were about to change after he reads a postcard addressed to him in California from the (fictitious) Dolphin Hotel in New York that warns, “Don’t stay in room 1408”. For Mike, it has the opposite effect, an invitation he can’t resist. A call to make a reservation gets a response of “the room is unavailable” no matter what date he requests.

Refusing to back off, he flies to New York after finding out from his publisher (Tony Shalhoub) that a loophole in the Civil Rights Law sides with the fact that he can’t be refused a room that is vacant. Mike arrives at the Dolphin Hotel, only to come face to face with the hotel manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel Jackson), who tries to persuade Mike from checking into room 1408, knowing all too well that it would be a tragic mistake. Olin relates that since the hotel’s opening, a total of fifty six gruesome deaths have occurred in the room which he calls “f----ing evil”. You would think a scrapbook with a history of graphic photos of 1408 and its victims would convince Mike to move on, or perhaps bribing him with a $800 bottle of booze would do the trick. Not with Mike, who is adamant about checking into, and spending the night in 1408 despite a futile attempt to sway him to another suite or luxury penthouse. Refusing to take no for an answer, Mike finally gets the key to 1408, but not before Olin makes it clear he was trained as a manager, not a coroner. Noone has lasted in that room for more than an hour and he doesn’t want to clean up the mess.

At first, the room looks normal, like a typical hotel room, clean and neat with everything in order. Before too long, things start getting spooky. Two chocolates are mysteriously left on his pillow without anyone other than Mike having entered the room. The radio goes on by itself and blasts the Carpenter’s “We’ve Only Just Begun” (a hint for things to come) and then its digital clock starts to count down from 60 minutes, which marks the beginning of a series of terrifying occurrences that Mike could never imagine he was in for.

Without mentioning everything that happens, let me say that whatever evil presence inhabits room1408 plays head games with its occupants by creating horrendous hallucinations that would make anyone feel like they are going off the deep end and turn to suicide. No coincidence the numbers 1408 add up 13. Much more than unlucky, this is the room from hell, a torture chamber that reveals its deadly intentions by allowing you to check in, but locked in and unable to leave, allows escape through an open window, which is a welcome to jump. A few before him have done just that, but none have survived the leap. We know because Enslin gets to witness some ghostly victims repeating the act several times right before his eyes.

Talking into his recorder to try and stay focused doesn’t work for long. How could it, when images of his life with wife (Mary McCormack) and daughter suddenly appear on the TV, sounds of a baby crying in the next room, paintings that come alive, the thermostat that goes from hot to another extreme of freezing cold are just samples of what sends Mike on an emotional and physical roller coaster, into panic attacks and losing a grip on reality.

The script of 1408 is based on a short story by master of horror, Stephen King. Without having read it I can only tell you that for this film adaptation, Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom does a great job of eliciting a first rate, spine tingling scare fest, surprisingly, without gore (excluding the ghastly photo images). Of course, a bleeding wall, one of King’s trademark plot devices had to be injected. John Cusack carries the suspense filled film with a believable, sweat driven, effective performance in what is essentially a one man show. I liked that the film took some unusual turns, and the use of different scare tactics and red herrings made for interesting twists.

If at any time you thought the walls were closing in on you, you will think twice about that, because you haven’t seen anything like what happens in this terrifying room. Most definitely you would not want to check in. Yet, I would advise any movie goer who enjoys entertaining thrills and chills to check it out. It’s a “safe” bet that this story will have a haunting effect on all who see it.