Monday, 4 January 2010

Film Review: 1408 [Director’s Cut] (2007)

Director: Mikael Håfström
Running time: 108 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

Watched on Sky+ Monday 4th January 2010.


I have seen the theatrical cut of this film before and, to be honest, there’s not a lot added to the ‘Director’s cut’ version. Mike Enslin is an author who writes about scary hotels and such like. He has never seen a ghost and does not believe in such things as demons. Basically, he’s very cynical about the whole thing; however, his books are fairly successful.

One day, whilst going through his mail, Mike comes across a postcard from the Dolphin Hotel in New York. On the back of the card is the message “don’t enter 1408”. This intrigues him and, after having been at first rebuffed by the hotel, he gets his agent, Sam Farrell, to get him a night in that room. Arriving at the hotel, he is met by Gerald Olin, the manager and warned not to spend the night in that room. Despite a file full of evidence of murders, suicides and mysterious deaths, Mike insists that he stay in 1408. Eventually Olin relents and gives Mike the key. On entering he sees just a normal hotel room. Looking around, he describes the setting to his Dictaphone. Just when everything’s looking normal, the radio switches on, and then a picture appears crooked, and then a toilet roll end gets mysteriously folded. Thinking there must be someone else hiding in the room, Mike begins to search. He finds a lot more than he bargained for.

I haven’t read the Stephen King short story on which this movie is based, but I gather it’s somewhat better than the film. Quite well made with plenty of spooky special effects. Decent performances from the cast, John Cusack as Mike Enslin, Samuel L. Jackson as Gerald Olin, Mary McCormack as Lily (Enslin’s ex-wife) and Tony Shalhoub as Sam Farrell.

I guess the main problem, for me, was that the room didn’t really scare me. Yes, weird things happened, but I guess I didn’t care enough about Mike Enslin for it to affect me in any meaningful way. The action did get a bit too ‘off the wall’ towards the middle but the ending was pretty good. There was definitely something lacking though. Over all, a fair effort to make a scary film, but one that failed to hit the mark IMHO.

My score: 5.4/10

IMDb Site:
Official Site:

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