1408 is just another unlucky way to say 13…Here in this thriller we have a dynamic group of actors playing off one another in ways that keeps you either spell bound with humor and fright or just has you entertained and enthralled by what could happen next.In the midst of all of this is where the story really begins in a very seemingly average, yet very suspenseful evil F*@#in room tragedy and terror turns a once cynic into someone who can really believe.
Mike Enslin (John Cusak) is a skeptic writer always conflicted with his subjects “haunted hotels and places” he has a knack with words and ideas which keeps him in business but lacks the appreciation of his work and the palaces he investigates. After arriving home from a brief encounter with another flimsy story of spectral haunting at some bed and breakfast, Mike (Cusak) arrives home and precedes to opens his mail. There he finds the postcard with one sentence written in perfect script “Do not enter 1408” this begins the twisted journey of opening old wounds and creating some new ones. With a little chuckle and some numerology Mike decides to contacts his editor Sam Farrel (Tony Shalhoub) in order to tell him about his next venue and the final piece to end his new book. Sam (Shalhoub) with a little apprehension of past conflict due to Mike’s wife Lily Enslin (Mary McCormack) and the loss of their only child Kaite (Jasmine Anthony) agrees to have Mike go ahead and investigate this one last “creepy” hotel. Upon arrival at the “The Dolphin” located in downtown New York city is an opening of interesting proportions delivered in style by the proprietor Gerald Olin (Samuel Jackson) Mr. Olin (Jackson) pleads with Mike to just leave this one alone. With taking no as the answer Mr. Olin takes his guest up to the room he has acquired, upon entering this seemingly normal room Enslin feels like he’s been duped no matter what the gruesome files might say. It’s really a not so terrifying room, that is, until the first blast of the “Carpenters-We’ve only just begun booms from the small clock radio”. This is where the fun begins, in antics of the room Mike begins to hallucinate at least that’s what he’s convinced himself, spiked by the ever uncooperative Mr. Olin. The room gives one hell of a scare to someone who would have never believed before and can’t help but to start believing now. With a count down of an unplugged clock, bloodied walls, imaginary past guests killing themselves, his deceased child and father paying him visits, melting phones and singled out rooms Mr. Enslin realizes he’s in for the ride of his life.
The direction is this movie is superb. The innovative ways of keeping in line with the old haunted house rules and making some new ones is something that will have people wondering what’s behind that door and should I go in? With the way each set and performance is carried out the room is the star in this film and the director made sure to keep it that way. Each scene has a method to carry out into the next such as when Mike is in the bathroom scene with his father you wonder what he means when he says “As I was you are, as I am you will be” by the end you realize Mike had completely followed the ritual that was handed down to him from past generations. With each next scene you wonder how, why, and what’s to come next as in the great escape scene how did he get out, was it just a dream, will he ever see that room again, or will he ever have to hear that blast of “We’ve only just begun” ringing in his ears? This movie leaves you entertained and possibly a little apprehensive.
The acting in this film was as always phenomenal with this all star cast of characters, with someone like Cusak who is no novice to film, can captivate you with just one expression or line like when he was trying to convey his worries of the supposed spiked drink that the proprietor Mr.Olin (Jackson) might have slipped him. Or when he finally sees his deceased child for the first time in years, he actually appears to sob and convey the pain and emotion one might have when pressed with this type of imagery. Samuel Jackson of course is amazing in his own right yet at this time drops his bad mofo image and brings a more sophisticated and likable character to this film. I enjoyed watching him handle Mr. Enslins refusal to take advice and the way he delivers the new to how many actual deaths occurred in this monstrous room. Great job to all who participated in this film each had their own type acting style which greatly contributed.
I find that most movies as I have matured in age have deteriorated that suspense or nervous quality that was once so, apparent as a child. Luckily with this film I was pleasantly surprised and more importantly nervous with anticipation in many of the scenes. I will be buying this movie as it is once out on DVD. A real enjoy for those late scary nights when you just can’t sleep. If I were to recommend any other films in this category with the most potential of a good unnerving night I would say…13 ghosts, The Woman in black, Poltergeist, Rose Red, and The Amityville horror.