Friday, June 22, 2007

1408: When You See It, Don't Go Commando

... because it just might scare your pants off. This movie adaptation of Stephen King's short story stars John Cusack (and, briefly, Samuel L. Jackson). It is the scariest PG-13 movie I've ever seen. I had to peek from between my fingers a couple of times, I'll admit to that, and I'll also admit to some seat-jumping. It's not gory and it's not particularly violent, it's just scary.

John Cusack does a fantastic job anchoring 1408 as Mike Enslin, since for the bulk of the movie he is alone and talking to himself in this "evil fucking room." [I think SLJ must be contractually obligated to drop the f-bomb in each of his movies, no?] This is what other horror movies could be if they starred actors who could act. For me, the first truly frightening moment is when Enslin starts to unravel just a little bit, when he first begins to understand that there really is something wrong in this room; the other super-scary bit is sometime later when Enslin is scrabbling in the minibar - Cusack fully sells it. Enslin is terrified, grieving, outraged, crazed, injured ... and the cynicism that has sustained him for so long has shattered, leaving him vulnerable.

There's a scene that pulls your head out of the movie for a bit, where you just can't believe that they chose to go this particular route; I was slightly spoiled for this movie (my own fault) so I knew to be prepared for such a thing - if I hadn't known what was coming, I would have been annoyed. This guy says it better.

Still, this is definitely one of the better adaptations of King's work. I find it funny that only a handful of his stories have been successfully translated to a visual medium (and when I say successfully translated I mean "well-received by most"): Carrie, The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, and Stand By Me. Misery and The Green Mile were decently done, I thought The Stand started strong 'tho came up lame in the stretch, and I've heard pretty good things about Apt Pupil but I haven't seen it. However, let us never speak of the movie versions of Dreamcatcher, Christine and Pet Sematary, please - I liked all those books.

P.S. As far as the previews are concerned, I can't wait to see Stardust.


  1. Apt Pupil is pretty good, but not as good as it could or should have been.

    Good to hear 1408 is this good - will have to check it out.

    (By the way, your label says "1409," which I'm pretty sure is a typo. :) )

  2. Thanks for the heads-up: my label did in fact say "1409" ... but no longer. My darn beta-reader is on vacation.

  3. Uh, yeah, read the first paragraph of this post and decided I wasn't going to see this movie... too scary for little ol' me! (Does that surprise you?)