September 22, 2007

No One Lasts More Than An Hour

Posted in Horror, Movies, Suspense at 6:19 pm by inflickted

1408One might argue in the technicality of the differences of a gothic movie, a ghost story and a horror flick. But for me, if it tackles and exploits human fear…It’s a horror… So, in a long string of gore and bloody terror, let us gently lay down our chainsaws, butcher’s knives and blow torches for just a moment and bear witness to a truly scary movie.

“1408” is one of my most anticipated horror films for this year. The old-gothic feel of the movie was just appealing to me because of it was a great change in the steady phase of Hostel, Severance, Vacancy, and The Hills Have Eyes. And so, my review, like the song, that eerie song that keeps being played by the old clock radio…”We’ve only just begun…”

“1408” is based on the short story of the great Stephen King. It is about a the writer of a popular series of haunted-hotel tour guides who takes on the challenge of checking into an ultra creepy New York hotel room where in anyone who dares spend the night doesn’t even last for more than an hour. This film version was directed by Mikael Håfström (who also directed “Derailed”). The director wisely takes the path Stephen King intended: to plumb the violence of the mind. Goosebumps and freak outs are guaranteed.

John Cusack steps in to play the lead role as Mike Enslin, the writer who has become jaded from his job because he has proved to himself that ghost, ghouls and demons don’t really exist. Let me tell you, this film would have failed if it wasn’t for the excellent performance of John Cusack. His face is so searchingly earnest that you hate to see the horrors of this nasty little room — and of his own past — wreak havoc on him. He makes Mike’s cynicism palpable as he checks into Room 1408 (13 if added up, and is really on the thirteenth floor) despite the objections of hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), who informs him that more than fifty people have died trying to spend the night there. Just to hear Jackson intone the line “it’s an evil f@#king room” is enough to rattle you to the core.

The thrill, suspense and horror were striking. It was the kind yet to be understood by the hack and slash gore that is the trend in horror nowadays. This film is ostensibly a ghost story, but as we get involved, it feels as if all the ghosts are coming from Mike’s mind. As the horrors close in, their act does drag for brief stretches, but the director tightens the vise around Mike with gleeful chaos and a total lack of both restraint and explicit violence. That last bit is a challenge, as is the blurring of distinction between forces natural and supernatural.

Unfortunately, 3/4 into the movie, the script gets increasingly desperate, trotting out cheap tricks and misleading clues. 1408 is the exact model of a good change of phase in the horror genre. You’ll have a good time viewing it, but you won’t remember it this time next year. If there is one thing I’m taking with me from this movie, it is that if I ever check into a hotel room and the clock radio is playing the Carpenters, I’m going to freak out.


It gets a haunting 3.6 out of 5 or 72% infectious



  1. utakGAGO said,

    Geez dude, dapat talaga papanoorin ko yan last Friday. We chose bowling instead. Ewan ko, I really want creepy movies! Lol.

    Nice review. And oh, anong song ng the Carpenters ang featured? 😛 Haha

  2. inflickted said,

    watch it! pero don’t expect anything like hostel or vacany or disturbia. it’s really different.

    We’ve only just begun yung song ng Carpenters.

  3. RJ said,

    I kept telling my friends ‘May twist pa yan! May twist pa yaaan!’ 3/4 into the movie until the credits rolled XD

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