Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson

Rated: PG-13  for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 22, 2007 Released by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

1408 is a Halloween-house movie for those who don't go for Saw or Haunted Mansion movies. It's not just a Shining wannabe or another adaptation of Stephen King (this time of the short story variety).

It's a great fit for boyish actor John Cusack, better than he was in the frightful hotel horror show Identity which had quite a twist.

The paranoia and the psychological work on Cusack's world-weary ghost writer Mike Enslin may have the viewer leaving logic at the hotel desk. Terrorizing claustrophobia with ghosts popping out of walls is part of the steady diet of special effects laced with humor and shock tactics.

The intriguing forboding also is indicated by an alarm clock loudly playing The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun."

Cusack fills every frame, often talking to himself, as things get more dire, apparently losing his sanity in the plush New York Dolphin hotel, in the titular room. Samuel L. Jackson is the oily hotel manager, Olin, who tells him to stay out of the room for good reason, and provides the movie with its harshest language.

But the work of Cusack and Derailed Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom makes the bug-eyed hysteria work as the mood is, nearly always sensory smart. 1408 nicely milks tension from a writer's past like other King adaptations like Secret Window even if the excitement nearly goes off the tracks with a late plot twist. Cusack makes this ghostly experience frightful fun.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
1408       B   B   B

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