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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > 1408 – 2 Disc Collector’s Edition (DVD)

1408 – 2 Disc Collector’s Edition (DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: C



With the plethora of horror films that are released each year, this reviewer had high hopes for a Stephen King based horror/thriller starring two excellent actors, John Cusack and Samuel Jackson; but in the end the film just fell flat on its face.  Now available for your grunt of dismay is 1408 - Two Disc Collector’s Edition.  The film generally had a positive reception in theaters earning approximately 100 million and gaining the number two slot in its opening week; though the number one slot was Evan Almighty, so you are the judge of what that means.  Certain reviewers compare this film to being in the same ranks as Kubrick’s The Shining, well this reviewer simply can not agree.  Whereas many say it is the best horror film in years that does not say much seeing as how the most creative horror films in recent times have been either remakes of past classics or one of the never ending SAW franchise films.  Overall, the film was just ok.  If 1408 came on television this reviewer would say it was worth a watch, but worth a 2 Disc Collector’s Edition?  I think not.


The Stephen King book-based film centers on Mike Enslin (John Cusack) a once great, passionate writer who now writes ‘Most Haunted place in (fill in blank)’ books for a quick buck.  He is neither respected nor admired doing this work but he does make cash and after the death of his daughter due to cancer and his separation from his wife, nothing much else matters.  After visiting hundreds of dead ends that turn out not to be haunted, the skeptical Mike Enslin takes a trip to New York City to the Dolphin Hotel.  The Dolphin Hotel has the famed room 1408 where no one is allowed to stay, due to all the tragedies that have already taken place there.  A reluctant hotel manager (played by Samuel Jackson) begrudgingly rents the room to Mike after countless warnings.  Mike just sees this as the manager’s way of hyping up the room.  No one has survived more than 1 hour in room 1408 and now Mike Enslin faces the same perils as all its past victims.  Mike goes through a psychological journey where neither he nor the audience knows what is real.  A first an extreme skeptic, but by the end he is clawing at a way to escape the grasps of this haunted hideaway.


The film is a great concept; nothing extremely new but reworked by Stephen King in such a manner that it is intriguing.  The film unfortunately falls victim to itself as the storyline drags and the special effects take over.  Samuel Jackson is only in the film for a brief moment and the film is truly a one man show starring John Cusack.  In fact, John Cusack may be the only saving grace of the feature.  The special effects were ok, but in many cases unnecessary and used as a cheap scare tactic.  The storyline makes the audience exclaim ‘GET ON WITH IT!’ after a while.  And without the talent of John Cusack this film may have been swept in between the creaky floorboards without much recognition.  Overall, a nice attempt at psychological horror film but it may have been better if it was just John Cusack in a black room flipping out.  Sometimes less is more.


Even with the film lacking in other ways the technical features are very nicely presented.  The picture is presented in a 16 X 9 Widescreen that is crisp and clear and for being as dark of a film as it is has little to no light/dark issues.  Though there is a certain degree of ‘blur’ in the faster moving sequences.  The sound is good for a horror film ‘Banging’ and ‘Screeching’ at all the right moments, giving a good horror experience if that is what the film delivered.


The extras do not impress this reviewer, more than likely because the film did not impress this reviewer.  The extras are plentiful, but lackluster overall.  Features include an insightful look in the film by John Cusack, a featurette of the Room’s Set, Theatrical Trailer, a full film commentary by the writers/director, a featurette entitled ‘The Secrets of 1408,’ Deleted Scenes, and of course Alternate Endings.  This reviewer enjoyed John Cusack’s commentaries just as his acting abilities were enjoyed, being once again one of the only saving graces of the extra features.  The alternate ending, for all those curious folks out there, was nothing to go wild over; in fact the theatrical ending was much better.


In the end one actor can not make nor save a film, though he tried his best.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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