RETRO-RANK: “1408: An Evil F’n Room”

Originally posted June 24, 2007.

I can’t officially claim this to be my first ever movie review but it was the original that I can discern in what was soon to become the seeds of the Rankatron. This appeared June 24, 2007 on my ‘cleverly’ named blog, FLICKED UP Reviews. Why FLICKED UP? Because if you look at the title quick enough, it looks like FUCKED UP. Yep. Not my best work but you throw stuff against the wall just to see what sticks sometimes. Well, here’s the Grandaddy of them all…a review of Stephen King’s 1408.

Soooo, lemme get this straight, you want your money back for 2012; a movie that hasn't even been made yet?

1408 isn’t what you’d call your typical horror movie. It’s not like any of the gorefests that have frequented the cinemas over the last few years such as Final Destination, Thirteen Ghosts…or any other “more blood equals more scary” movies that you can name. This movie is pure psychological mind f**k on the scale of The Shining (had to keep this review PG because I dropped the F-bomb once or twice the last time and felt like it was over used; on a side note, it’ll be used one more time in this review). There is minimal gore…lots of blood though…you’d have to see it to understand how that could happen.

Speaking of The Shining (or as Willy would say on the Simpsons “The Shinin'”), this movie was based on a story by the master of terror, Stephen “I think all writers drink too much” King. And you can tell by the screwed up characters that even if you didn’t know that, you could smell the King fourty million creepy rooms away. However, unlike his other horror stories turned movies (with the exception of the Shining), this movie doesn’t suck! It doesn’t stand up to The Shining but 1408 is cut from the same mold and is his best “horror” movie since. King has had a lot of other better movies from his stories like Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Stand by Me…to name a few…but his horror movies never live up to his stories.

John Cusak (not normally a fan of his) does well as the writer of a series of books chronicling the most haunted hotels in America who doesn’t believe in ghosts because he’s never seen one. He likes to believe that there is an afterlife because his daughter passed away from a disease but he has no proof of it. This is the underlying theme of the whole movie. It’s a rollicking ride through his mind as we see him teeter from disbelief in monsters to totally losing his mind and back again as he tries to make sense of everything. Though, I’ve always found Cusak kind of wooden here…some parts weren’t that engaging.

Also, Stephen King runs through the gambit of every possible horror genre cliche (like Cusak’s just dreaming, or he’s drugged, or it’s all in his head) to get us to the end…and there’s a lot of false endings…you never know if the room still has you. At the actual ending, you’re still left wondering…what if I’m still in that creepy hotel room in Scarborough back in 2000 where someone was killed a few rooms down that night? (True story)

As the show stealer Samuel L. Jackson commented: “It’s just an evil f**king room.” (He should’ve been the main character in the room…that would’ve put this movie over the top)

Fun freaky movie, not a lot of “jump” type scares like I was expecting…but overall, an entertaining and fast paced flic. Didn’t feel the time pass at all. Wanted it more frightening though.

7 Sam Jackson gratuitous profanities out of 10.


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