Monday, October 15, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again...

For Halloween movies! I'm a big fan of anything that makes me jump out of my seat and grab hold of the next person next to me. Because that usually ends with both of us laughing hysterically. This past weekend I got to see my first scary movie of the season!

I viewed 1408, starring John Cusack. The film is a psychological thriller based on a short story by none other than the horror legend, Stephen King.
Cusack plays horror writer, Mike Enslin, who for his job, visits supernatural landmarks and writes about them for books such as "The Top Ten Haunted Hotels." Enslin is quite the skeptic and claims that he has actually never seen a ghost, even though he owns all of the devices he needs to detect them.

After a successful book release, Enslin, who lives in Los Angeles, celebrates with a day out surfing and almost drowns.

After his near death experience,
he receives an anonymous post card from the Dolphin Hotel in New York City that says Do not enter room 1408. Seeing this as a challenge, he calls to book the room. The concierge tells him that that room is never and will never be available. He has to use legal action in order to spend a fateful night in room 1408. When he arrives for his one night there, the general manager, Gerald Olin, played by Samuel L. Jackson desperately tries to deter him from spending the night. He tells Enslin the tale of the 56 people who died in the room, some from mysterious “natural” causes and others from suicide. Being the skeptic that he is, Enslin refuses to back out and demands the room.

Once he goes in, he never comes out…

What amazed me most about this movie was John Cusack’s brilliant acting. He absolutely lit up the screen in no other way I’ve seen before. He is obviously by himself in the room when all sorts of unexpected and strange things begin to happen to him. To be able to act the way he did without having another person to bounce dialogue back and forth with is remarkable.

There are a handful of things that happen while Enslin is in room 1408 that made me jump. While in the room, the radio suddenly turns on and starts blaring The Carpenters. When Enslin quickly unplugs it, the clock starts a countdown for one hour, signifying his death in 60 minutes time. Trying to escape the tormented space, Enslin attempts to escape out the window, but soon realizes there is no where to go but down. He sees the apparitions of past tenants and also must confront his own past, watching scenes from his own life, including fights with his ex-wife, the death of his young daughter and his father, who is in a retirement facility.

Entertainment Weekly said in its review of the film “1408 doesn't pretend to be a seismic Stephen King movie, like Carrie or The Shining. It's more like the nifty King-on-film scare machines of the '80s, such as Christine or Cujo.” I disagree with this. I feel as though it was more like The Shining than anything because of the weird psychological aspect to it.

I always try to find a meaning in films and this was clear that Enslin had to deal with demons from his past, those that he had run away from and now had to no choice but to look directly at since he cannot escape the room which holds them. All in all, this movie kept me guessing and was entertaining to watch on a Saturday afternoon with friends in your PJs, which is exactly what I did.

Let's just say I cannot wait to watch more scary movies in the next few weeks!

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