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Another scary, thoughtful thriller from the mind of Stephen King
Another scary, thoughtful thriller from the mind of Stephen King
1408 delivers the goods--chills and gasps--in abundance

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

1408
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
Starring John Cusak, Samuel L. Jackson Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
Now playing


There's something about movies based on Stephen King novels that have the ability to set up the viewer right from the start and get the adrenaline flowing, preparing one for scary things to come. And this formula, which has served Mr. King for years, is not missing in the new film (based on a short story by King, '1408', about a haunted New York hotel. The car driving writer, Scott Enlin (John Cusak), drives through all speak of dire events as rain and the flashing lightning lights up the night around him. True, the first hotel he stays at is a disappointment, but the stage has been set.

Move forward to Enlin thumbing through a pile of mail, sorting out bills, offers to stay at other 'haunted hotels'--he's made a living writing books about such things--and getting to a postcard warning him 'do not enter 1408'. Of course, his interest is piqued, and so he dashes off to New York, arriving at The Dolphin Hotel and deciding to take no resistance to his staying in the 'evil room' (at it's described by the hotel manager, played by Samuel L. Jackson). His publisher has given him the go ahead, even going as far as to hire a twitchy looking lawyer who quotes some voluminous text on what rights Mr. Enlin has in regard to his desire to book the room. Thus fueled, and with plenty of curiosity and stubbornness, he eventually does wear down the manager (Jackson, looking rather like the innkeeper in Marvel's '70's comic series 'House of Secrets') and settles into room 1408.

We find out later, through a series of flashbacks that Mr. Enlin also has other reasons for wanting to know if there's life after death. He's lost a daughter to cancer, and hasn't put to rest her ghost in his mind, something that comes to bite him in the butt as the room turns out to be exactly what the manager warned him it would be. Truly evil. Thus Stephen King's best talent as a writer of horror is put on display: his ability to present to the audience his character's soft underbelly and work that weakness to grand effect.

Poor Enlin is nearly done in by not only the left over demons in the room, but his own, inner demons as well; while we, the viewer, receive a substantial dose of jumps and shocks. Definitely as good or maybe better than Rose Red, or maybe even The Shining, 1408 delivers the goods--chills and gasps--in abundance, and never overdoes it. Also, this shows that a film can have very little blood (the only blood seen is when Cusack hurts his hand on a haunted window) and still be hella scary. Worth paying the movie ticket price for, believe me.

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