Having a successful film in Hollywood always comes with its hazards. Being an intellectual film is one, apparently. Enter the 2000’s where an original horror story is slim to none. Remakes are popping up everywhere, regardless if the original film could even be deemed popular. What happens when you take 2 talented actors, mix them with a hellish entity based on a Stephen King short, and throw in the Carpenters? Well, you’d get 1408.
Mike Enslin (Cusack) is a bastard author who travels cross-country, visiting “Haunted” houses, hotels, mansions, and even Lighthouses, to churn out book after book on the subject. His reasons are buried and will not be revealed until later in the film (The wait is worth it). He is not a popular author and is shadowed by his former life.
Writing bargain bin novels is no easy choice, which must be why he succumbs to the elusive author stereotype of alcohol and cigarettes. His life is going plainly dull without any real specters until he receives a postcard from the Dolphin Hotel urging “Do not enter 1408” As any ghost hunter would do, he decides to be a hardass and charge in headfirst into this experience of which he might not escape.
Since the films release, I have heard horrible reviews and then extremely positive reviews. Any film is open to criticism but few deserve such harsh criticism, especially when such extravagant effort is shown. 1408 is an original ghost story that does what the genre admitted was dead, to scare. 1408 has its moments of claustrophobia, acrophobia, and the all-out jump-out tactics. Also note the familiar use of the Carpenters hit single "We've only just begun" used to a similar effect as in Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness.
Backed with an impressive script and charismatic actors being charismatic, it’s no wonder the film has it’s good reviews armed with bad. Most of my personal experiences with complaints has been from people who enjoy the horror market as it is, and as we all know, the chances of horror coming out alive is about the same chance we have of a decent Alien vs. Predator movie coming out. It just won’t happen.
1408 is one of the few films that are worth seeing from the hacks at The Weinstein Company. They do not care about the future of film. Apart from sporting both black humor and terror, 1408 (The Theatrical Version) has one of the most touchy-feely endings in a long time. This is not a bad thing, no. Many times, the ending will catch me off guard and produce a tear or two. Expect one of the most epic last lines from Samuel L. Jackson ever.
1408 is a newcomer to horror and acts upon what it came for; to entertain and try to bring something new. It does this and more. Do not expect much, for it does not have expectations, but due to its subject matter, it is a disproportional looks on religion and the close-mindedness of humanity.