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 Post subject: 1408
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:57 pm
Posts: 90
Despite a promising cast, (John Cusack, Samuel L Jackson) the latest Stephen King adaption 1408 is a big disappointment. Sceptical ghost hunting author Michael Enslin (Cusack) blithely checks into the infamous NY hotel room, after strenuous efforts by the manager (Jackson) to dissuade him, primarily on the basis of 1408's frightening history: multiple deaths during its previous occupancies, a series of fatalities which include leapers from the high window, suicides, self-mutilators as well as many others not officially counted as they are from alleged 'natural causes'. Spending a whole night in a room or venue supposedly haunted is Cusack's modus operandi when researching his books on the subject. Jackson assures him that sticking more than an hour in 1408 will be a real something in itself...

Resolutely lacking much in the way of real suspense, instead substituting a couple of full colour ghosts, manufactured shocks, including the usual blood leaking out of wall cracks, claustrophobic chase scenes, bricked up windows, fluctuating temperature schemes, a couple of awkward dream sequences, as well as being interspersed with a maudlin supporting plot based around Enslin's grief over his dead child (which plays an important part of the climax) 1408 is very much the haunted hotel room by numbers, utilising a over stretched dramatic structure which ultimately seems less a genuinely effective device than a way of making a predictable series of events more interesting.

Acting alone on screen while reacting to this host of paranormal blather a lot of the time, the normally dependable Cusack does his best but, as the duly anticipated shock moments come and go more or less on cue, the whole thing remains unmemorable and just drags on too long. The initially highly rational Enslin also gets rattled much too quickly for this viewers taste, and remains rattled for too long without much self examination or investigation of his fears. (an interesting conspiracy theory concerning the hotel staff is played down) . Ironically, if the famous haunted room had been one placed in a sterile, modern hotel, it would had been much more frightening - neatly exemplifying Enslin's line about "the blandness of evil". As it is, amidst the gothic, dark panelled veneers of the The Dolphin nothing is really more than we expect.

Jackson looks slightly out of place as a posh hotelier with just one or two major scenes to steal, and this reviewer for one will turn to SNAKES ON A PLANE again before this out of his recent appearances for most pleasure, a film which certainly had more entertaining, and better paced, scares than the largely po-faced 1408 mostly lacks. For a more interesting and heck, just plain fun version of the-author-facing-the-dark-forces thread in film I recommend Carpenter's decade old MOUTH OF MADNESS way over this, as at least it successfully suggests the disorientation and mounting distress of those literary doubters who stumble across, or provoke, evil forces.

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