1408 (2007)

Director:  Mikael Hafstrom
Cast:  John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack
Plot:  A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Genre:  Fantasy / Horror
Awards:  -
Runtime:  94min
Rating:  PG for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language.

Thirty seconds into 1408, my astute sixth sense tells me that the movie's going to be a letdown.  A further five minutes into it, I know there's an even further ninety minutes of hell waiting for me.  1408 is a probable contender for the worst film of 2007.  It's an unfair judgment (it's impossible for me to catch every newly released movie due to my tight schedule), but I'll be eternally grateful if the remaining months of 2007 offer better movies than this.

If the purpose of 1408 is to entertain and entertain only, it fails miserably.  You do not need to be a film critic to realize that Mikael Hafstrom's horror thriller is the cinematic equivalent of a pile of stinking manure.  Not only it's a torture to sit through, it has almost negligible theatrical value (be it artistic or technical).  The most terrible aspect of 1408 is the screenplay.  It's shallow, cliché-ridden, and outright ridiculous.  What did the screenwriters do to Stephen King's original short story?  Did they script it during the crux of their nightmares?

While it's no means the director's fault, the cast and technical crew shares the blame with the screenwriters.  John Cusack gives a 'Razzie' performance, while Samuel L. Jackson fares no better than an expressionless Ben Affleck.  1408 shoots itself in the foot; it's an unfocused production with no clear aims.  One wonders what would have been the end result if Stanley Kubrick were to direct 1408.  His similarly-themed horror masterpiece, The Shining, is a shining example (pardon the pun) of an atmosphere-driven, tightly scripted, and detailed character-based film study of mind psychosis.  1408 pales so much in comparison that it grows into a formulaic bore long before the opening credits end.  Please stay away from it.


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