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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


***½ 1408. Horror.

Directed by: Mikael Håfström.
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson.

I don't generally watch horror movies, but I absolutely love John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. So I went with Carl to see this at the Hercules.

Mike Enslin is a writer of books about haunted houses, who's going a bit off the deep end after the death of his daughter. Despite everything the manager of the Dolphin Hotel (Samuel L. Jackson) says, he's determined to spend the night in room 1408, that's not just haunted--people tend to die very grisly deaths, mostly self-inflicted, in that room.

So he checks in and the weirdness starts happening.

And happening.

And happening.

Cusack is absolutely brilliant in the role--what's for most of the movie a one-man show. His disbelief, anger, fear, resignation, determination, every emotion you might expect to go through, is vividly on the screen.

But there's not a solution or a reason for it. Yes, he figures out how to escape in the end, but how did the room get that way? Why did these things happen? And what about the manager? He seemed a little sinister, like he might be causing things, but apparently not.

So on the way home, and for about a half hour afterward, we discussed this and other horror movies. Carl loved it. I loved Cusack's performance, but I wanted there to be a point to it. We came up with a theory.

Here's another thought: what Mike Enslin goes through ends up helping him work through his personal demons, which figure fairly heavily in the room's torments. Maybe it's all symbolism?

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This one's from Stephen King's Everything's Eventual, his fourth (!) widely-published collection of short stories. If you happen to run across the book, I think it's worth reading the story; there's a sense of wrong that lingers after the pages have been closed.

But seeing as how you're maybe not such a fan of the horror genre, you might actually be happier with the collection Night Shift -- I like short fiction so much not only because of my attention span and brief moments of free time (although figgy's been sleeping better, lately), but also because it feels more tightly focussed on the story. And a lot of the stories in Night Shift are just good stories, not necessarily horror (there's a few, but The Last Rung on the Ladder and The Woman in the Room definitely are not).
Darla this movie review you did, reminded me of a movie "Vacancy" ( I hope I spell that right). It familiar to 1408.

What happen in Vacancy was....a couple was on the road, going on trip somewhere. They were lost and decided to find a motel to stay in for the night. Once they've book their room, things happen right after they saw a home video of each person being murder in their own room. At first they thought it was must movie but realized that the room in the video look exactly like the room they are in. And they grew suspection and scared. They've been chased through out the whole movie. I don't think I ever knew the reason behind why the killer murder those people. I take it that it was only because they were bored and it entertained them to murder people. Unless I miss "something". Of course it wasn't shown that they were bored or what so ever. But when the movie end, I was just finding no point to killing. Even though the movie was thrilling but weird. It was an okay movie though :)

I don't mind violence or being scared. And like you, I like suspense/action movies.
OOpsie! This part here At first they thought it was must movie but realized that the room in the video look exactly like the room they are in

It suppose to say "At first they thought it was a movie...."

The word must before the word movie, shouldn't be there.
Mike, I... don't read Stephen King. The stories themselves don't bother me--it's the way he puts words together. Nails on a chalkboard for me. *shrug* Koontz and McCammon I'm fine with. Maybe his shorter fiction wouldn't grate as much. I'll keep it in mind.

Yeah, it sounds similar--though Vacancy was actual people locking them in and filming them, and 1408 it was supernatural.
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