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Another Spy Sees 1408 And Says, “Not So Fast”...

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. We had a couple more people pop up with reviews of 1408, the new Stephen King thriller, towards the end of the week. Despite the idiotic talkback that insists on labeling every single contributor now a “plant,” I can confirm that those were real reviews. From normal film fans. And that’s really what they thought of them. But we’ve got another review today from someone who felt very differently about the film, and wants to make sure his voice is heard, too...

Hey I don’t know if you need something along these lines, but I think you do. I’ve read two really positive reviews on AICN for the movie I just saw, 1408. And it needs to be said, those writers are either plants, drunk, or both. Or maybe the film’s been changed significantly since this winter. The bottom line, though, is that it is a bit of a mess. I don’t really like to do much plot summary if it’s avoidable. Luckily there’s not much work to be done with 1408. John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, author of books about haunted places who’s never actually seen any real paranormal activity. He goes to room 1408 of the fictional Dolphin Hotel in NYC and there he sees real paranormal activity. And … that’s pretty much the plot. Which would be fine if 1408 was actually as scary as these other writers suggest. And/or if the supernatural aspect of the film had some kind of pay-off. Neither is the case. There are some scary moments, but without a real dramatic context (more on that in a second) it starts to feel mechanical, like a mediocre haunted house ride. And I am all for leaving some mystery to movies like this, but 1408 doesn’t even have a hint of an attempt to show us what, in fact is going on in the titular room. It becomes a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The dramatic context I mentioned, or lack thereof, consists of flashbacks revealing Enslin’s so-sad past. Fair enough, but it feels tacked on, as if the filmmakers felt they needed an emotional hook but were too busy piling on the (very loud) jump scares to really give this back-story the attention it needed. As a result, it’s distracting at least, and disingenuous at worst. The acting is fine, if sometimes overwrought. And I’m talking about Cusack here, since the other leads are in the film maybe 20 minutes combined. Samuel Jackson did initially make me think the movie was going to be better than it ended up being, by sheer force of his Sam Jackson-ness. Mary McCormack’s character is a cardboard cut-out; there’s nothing to be done with it and McCormack does just that. Overall 1408 is jumbled and not very intriguing. There is nothing to wonder at, or about, and I think that's a fundamental failure for a supernatural horror film. I should also say the trailer for this film gives away farrrrrrr too much, especially the only “twist” in the whole movie. So that annoyed me (and also I was seated next to three very chatty middle aged women who narrated as the movie played - thanks ladies!) So maybe I am a little biased. I do think it’s possible that editing could make this more cohesive; it depends on what footage they have lying around I guess. I’ve written a few times before but I forget what name(s) I used. So please call me Changeling if you use this. If that’s taken call me Johnny Frog. If that's taken call me Kid Kilowatt. If that's taken call me Sandwich Hoarder. If that's taken call me The Human Tamale. If that's taken call me Cigarette Tricks. If that's taken, by god, call me Frou-Frou.
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