Viewed – 11 September 2007 Cinema
It’s been a while since greatest horror writer of all time Stephen King wowed cinema goers. Yes, he still churns out paper back after paper back, but when was the last time we were treated to something like The Shining or Carrie? A long time, thats the answer – and even though this latest haunted hotel (room) story isn’t quite the legendary fright-fest of its ancestors, it still rocks your nerves thoroughly throughout – helped by a stellar performance from the always reliable John Cussack – easily one of my favourite actors.
Cussack plays a writer who researches supposedly haunted places in the hope of having a supernatural encounter – yet despite a wealth of experience, he has yet to see or experience any evidence of life after death – you see, his daughter died, and it set him on a mission to discover a meaning to such grief.
Yet when he stumbles upon a story involving a sinister room in a hotel, he just thinks its another tourest attraction, a creepy story to tell your kids and give them nightmares – and although skeptical at first, its not long until Cussack realises he’s entered the tenth level of hell – and the only hope he has is surving the night – or even the first hour(!). Suitable support is weighed in by the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson, who gives Cussack plenty of reason to not stay in 1408 – but this world-weary writer is having none of it – something he soon regrets.
The scares, the jumps, and some clever ideas are piled on thick and fast…yet I did feel the film played it a little safe, and could have been much more nasty and disturbing. Yet also it was refreshing to watch something that was just about mood, atmosphere and scares not buckets of blood and torture sequences.
It was like having tea with an old friend.
Verdict: 4 /5