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Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 258 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Renowned horror novelist Mike Enslin (Cusack) only believes what he can see with his own two eyes. After a string of bestsellers discrediting paranormal events in the most infamous haunted houses and graveyards around the world, he scoffs at the concept of an afterlife. Enslin's phantom-freeRenowned horror novelist Mike Enslin (Cusack) only believes what he can see with his own two eyes. After a string of bestsellers discrediting paranormal events in the most infamous haunted houses and graveyards around the world, he scoffs at the concept of an afterlife. Enslin's phantom-free run of long and lonely nights is about to change forever when he checks into suite 1408 of the notorious Dolphin Hotel for his latest project, "Ten Nights in Haunted Hotel Rooms." Defying the warnings of the hotel manager (Jackson), the author is the first person in years to stay in the reputedly haunted room. Another bestseller may be imminent, but like all Stephen King heroes, Enslin must go from skeptic to true believer - and ultimately survive the night. [MGM] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom creates a compelling ride of a movie. Every beat of the film is weighted with significance, and our mounting dread becomes almost intolerable.
  2. 75
    Sharp little psychological thriller.
  3. Swift, sharp adaptation of Stephen King's short story (from the "Everything's Eventual" collection).
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    70
    The horror wouldn't work without Cusack, who makes what could have been a rote acting exercise--Be tough! Now angry! Now defensively funny!--a cathartic ritual instead.
  5. Really wanting to get into our heads, 1408 tries awfully hard to play both sides of logic's boundary line -- tries and fails, and then succeeds, only to ultimately fail again. On the whole, the frights are frighteningly erratic.
  6. 63
    For about an hour or so, 1408 has you thinking you're watching The Next Great Horror Movie: That's how good the first half of this adaptation of Stephen King's short story about a haunted hotel room is.
  7. 50
    One night in 1408 stretches out until it ends up feeling more like a routine three-day business trip. The scariest thing in it may be the way the clock radio has a way of turning itself on, loudly, of its own accord. The song is always the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun." Now THAT'S horror.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 80
  2. Negative: 20 out of 80
  1. Apr 29, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Given that King adaptations are typically awful jokes, 1408 merits praise merely for being not abysmal. That said - it's a good little chiller that should have been great. So much is wonderful, including Cusack's droll awareness of playing the same, weary, cynical dude. The settings, the silences, the pacing - all grand, really. What goes wrong? TOO MUCH EXPOSITION, and the misleading kind. Based on the first 30 minutes, 1408 is beyond deadly. It's sadistic, vile, and very, very fast, given the self-mutilations which have occurred within it, and in mere minutes. But Cusack's experience, a few harmless phantoms aside, isn't terrifying; it's all about sadness and his personal despair. I expect more from a room that induces a maid to stab her eyes out in mere seconds.
    But - hey, it's all right. And the hotel window/ledge scenes are bloody fabulous.
    Expand
  2. DavidK.
    Sep 1, 2007
    9
    Great film if you ask me, a little weird and at a few bits u may be confused but, seriously not many films of recent or past made me jump or Great film if you ask me, a little weird and at a few bits u may be confused but, seriously not many films of recent or past made me jump or be scared like this one did, Now don't call me a wimp because I'v seen my fair share of horror's as I am a horror fanatic and have seen many many many horrors. Expand
  3. Mar 9, 2015
    8
    A typical PG-13 horror movie consists of a bunch of dumb teenagers aimlessly running around in their film either trying (and failing) to solveA typical PG-13 horror movie consists of a bunch of dumb teenagers aimlessly running around in their film either trying (and failing) to solve some urban myth or being killed off in the least inventive ways possible. Of course you get the rare Insidious or The Ring, but for the most part, you'll end up with a movie like Ouija or One Missed Call. 1408, however, is the former. Based on Stephen King's creepy short story, 1408 is about an author named Mike Enslin (because it's not a King story if there's no author involved) who writes about haunted houses, graveyards, and the likes. He gets a mysterious letter in his mail one day that tells him "not to go to room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel". Viewing this as a challenge, Enslin, who's played flawlessly by John Cusack, finds this hotel and gains access to the forbidden room 1408.

    The horror begins before Enslin even steps into the room. As he's pacing the halls of the 14th floor, he finds himself back at an empty open elevator, as if the hotel is telling Enslin not to go into the room. Slightly confused, he finds 1408 and walks inside. Mike's first five minutes in the room is rather boring. Nothing particularly supernatural happens until his clock all of the sudden starts playing "We've Only Just Begun", and a 60 minute timer begins counting down, in response to the hotel manager who says that no one has ever lasted more than an hour in the room. The movie then becomes an increasingly terrifying, non-stop haunted house (or, in this case, haunted hotel room) ride that relentlessly scares the audiences with a growing sense of dread and a very heavy atmosphere. 1408 doesn't scare us with what does pop out; it scares us with what might pop out. If you've ever seen Oculus, this movie is similar to that, only in a hotel room.

    Being based on a very short story, the structure of this movie is extremely simple. 1408 is a one-man show, and John Cusack is the star. For three-quarters of the movie, it's just him in the room witnessing all these bizarre and scary events. This movie isn't cluttered with unnecessary backstories, side-characters, or plot twists. It's a simple and effective horror movie that leaves a lingering sting. 1408 may not be as ground-breaking as Carrie or The Shining, but this movie is definitely one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date.
    Expand
  4. Oct 17, 2013
    7
    "1408" is one of the good Stephen King adaptations, one that maintains its author's satirical view of human nature. However, it's not the"1408" is one of the good Stephen King adaptations, one that maintains its author's satirical view of human nature. However, it's not the script (by Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski) that deserves most of the credit. Director Mikael Hafstrom "Derailed" (2005), who fares far better here than his debut, never resorts to the cheap tricks and gruesome visuals, while creating scares through a suffocating sense of claustrophobia and suspense. The movie appeals to an old-fashioned sense of horror that differs from your typical slasher flicks loaded with unrelenting carnage.

    Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a professional skeptic. He makes his living by visiting supposed haunted houses and writing about the absence of ghosts. For him, room 1408 at New York's Dolphin Hotel is too good a challenge to pass up. In its nearly 100 years of existence, 56 people have died in that room. The hotel's manager (Samuel L. Jackson) advises in the strongest terms that Mike not stay there. "No one," he advises, "has lasted more than an hour." At first, Mike is not impressed by the ordinariness of the accommodations. Then strange things begin happening, and by the time he decides that checking out early might be the wisest decision, that option no longer exists.

    Too often, we see a movie with a good setup ruined with a subpar ending. "1408" deftly sidesteps the pitfall, delivering a conclusion that manages not to disappoint, while at the same time leaving things open-ended enough for viewer interpretation. Most of the movie focuses on Cusack, alone in his room, trapped in an escalating environment of paranoia. He uses his good natured disposition to get the audience's acceptance, and once that's accomplished, the film has us. It's riveting to watch his cynicism and disbelief give way to the horror of what is actually happening. Despite Mike's mantra "We don't rattle, do we?" The answer is in fact, we do.
    Expand
  5. BillyS.
    Jun 25, 2007
    6
    The only thing that keeps 1408 from being a typical "Lets spend the night in a haunted house" movie is John Cusack. Though this isn't up The only thing that keeps 1408 from being a typical "Lets spend the night in a haunted house" movie is John Cusack. Though this isn't up to his usual impeccable script choices, his performance is, as always, much better than the material calls for. Samuel L. Jackson has a little more than a cameo but his name looks good on the one-sheets. 1408 is light years ahead of the usual slasher/gore flicks but it is not the thinking mans horror flick the critics say it is. A good horror flick doesn't steal endings from an episode of Dallas!! Expand
  6. Troubadorjim
    Oct 1, 2007
    3
    Was it supposed to be a horror? Thriller? Great concept, but every effort made to rattle the audience was smashed to pieces. The whole Was it supposed to be a horror? Thriller? Great concept, but every effort made to rattle the audience was smashed to pieces. The whole grainy/static ghost sequences are just not scary anymore. Wait, were they ever? Not scary, just annoyingly suspenseful. Expand
  7. JohnP
    Nov 15, 2007
    0
    Cusack has long been one of my favorite NON high profile actors because of his choice of movies in general. But alas he lost me on this one. Cusack has long been one of my favorite NON high profile actors because of his choice of movies in general. But alas he lost me on this one. This movie was simply a recylced FX vehicle and if anyone thinks it was more than that then they looked way too hard and deep. As is many American movies the beginnings have promise and then falter into the writers abyss. By that I mean they run out of any credible imagination, originality and passion. If your not going to make any sense at least attempt to be entertaining, which this movie was not. This movie on the making sense level was close to The Lakehouse and that my friends was baddddd. So.. not in great company I must say. Think I'll go and write a screenplay, never have attempted one but heck sure as hell couldn't be as bad. Expand

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