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        Mike Enslin is a skeptical writer investigating paranormal events. When he insists on staying in the reportedly haunted room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel against the grave warnings of the hotel manager, he discovers the room's deadly secret - an evil so powerful, no one has ever survived an hour within its walls.

"Hotels are a naturally creepy place... Just think, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many... died?"
                  - Mike Enslin

          It's been a couple years since a Stephen King adaption has impressed me, but (finally) one has arrived.
          The DVD showed up in my mailbox, about a week ago, after agreeing to feature it on The Flesh Farm with Black Ops Media. I've been skeptical about recent Stephen King adaptions after watching the awful Riding the Bullet back in 2004. (Fucking horse shit movie.) But I thought to myself, "John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson and Mary McCormack are in it. It has to be good." And I was right.
          As you might suspect, from reading the synopsis above, this film is very similar to 1980's, The Shining. If you are a dedicated fan of The Shining, you'll notice more similarities than someone who saw it once in the theater back in the early 80's. Both are set in hotels, both revolve around a single room, both have a family containing only one child, both males are drunk writers who encounter intense cold and snow... and the list goes on and on. But this isn't necessarily what I would consider a reformulated version of The Shining. Normally, I would've guessed the writer ran out of material and decided to rewrite one of his best sellers, but this is not the case. Thankfully.
          There are plenty of differences when it comes to 1408 and The Shining. For example, John Cusack plays a man who's daughter died from a health condition years before we enter his life. In attempts to find his daughter, he becomes an investigator in paranormal activities investigating haunted houses, haunted lighthouses and haunted hotels. Now, in The Shining, Jack Nicholson plays a man who isn't looking for ghosts or haunted attractions at all, he just needs a job. That example alone changes the entire mood and atmosphere of the film.
          What other examples do you ask? 1408 plays with your mind in a much different way than The Shining. 1408 is confined to one small room of a giant hotel, where as in The Shining, the whole damn hotel is a reason to call the Ghostbusters. Yeah, one might think it would be worse to be running around inside a massive hotel with hundreds of ghosts opposed to being stuck in one room with only 5-10. But I disagree. When any human being is confronted with a potentially harmful situation, the "fight or flight" instinct kicks in. Now, if I had to choose between the two, I would as least want the chance to run. Yeah, both situations suck... but at least the overwhelming urge to run like a 3rd grade girl is still a viable option.
          Samuel L. Jackson did an excellent job as always playing the manager of 'The Dolphin'. Watch for him during an especially humorous scene dealing with a small refrigerator. (Hilarious) Mary McCormack was cast as John Cusack's wife, and I feel this was a smart decision. You might remember her from Deep Impact and K-PAX where she also did stunning work. John Cusack should get an award for his portrayal as Mike Enslin. I have no idea how he managed to look so damn terrified through the thousands of takes they shot to complete the film. Kudos to John.
          In conclusion, 1408 is definitely worth the money. The two disc collector's edition is jam packed full of extra goodies and behind the scenes material including interviews with the cast and crew. 1408 turned out to be far more than I had hoped. Great film!

Cast & Crew   |   Pictures  |   Video Clip   |   Trailer

          - The initial inspiration for Stephen King came from a collection of real-life news stories about parapsychologist Christopher Chacon's investigation of a notoriously haunted room at the famous Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California.

          - Kate Walsh was originally cast in this film, but was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with the television show 'Grey's Anatomy'. She was replaced by Mary McCormack.

          - The story this film was based on was almost never written. Stephen King originally created the first few pages of '1408' for his nonfiction book, "On Writing," as an example of how to revise a first draft. The story, however, intrigued him, and he wound up not only finishing a complete draft, but adapting it for an audio-book compilation of short stories.

          - There are many references to the number "13" throughout the movie. The room is numbered "1408", add each number together equals 13. The room is on the 14th floor, and the Hotel skips the 13th floor, so the room is technically on the 13th floor. The room's key lock also has "6214" etched into it, which adds up to 13. And the first death was in the year 1912, which adds to 13.

          - One of the first victims of the room was named "Grady." Grady was a character in "The Shining," Stephen King's other horror story about a hotel.

          - Mike Enslin has a Chicago White Sox hat. Chicago is John Cusack's home town. Also, in a previous film, Eight Men Out, John Cusack portrayed White Sox outfielder George "Buck" Weaver. John Cusack himself is a devoted Chicago Cubs fan.

          - In addition to the previous numbers adding up to 13, the hotel is mentioned to be at 2245 Lexington Street in New York City. 2245 adds up to 13.

          - When Gerald Olin is talking to Mike about his previous books he accidentally calls Mike's first book "The Long Walk," instead of "The Long Road Home." This is a reference to the Stephen King novel, "The Long Walk."

          - Towards the beginning of his stay in room 1408, Mike mentions that "some smart-ass" once wrote about the 'banality of evil.' The smart-ass in question is German political theorist and intellectual Hannah Arendt, who wrote about the 'banality of evil' in her essay "Eichmann in Jerusalem."



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