1408 (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (2007)

Actors: John Cusack
Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Unknown
Number of discs:
DVD Release Date:
October 2, 2007

Bonus Features:

  • 5 Deleted Scenes
  • Commentary By Director Mikael Hafstrom and Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
  • The Secrets of 1408 - A Behind-the-Scenes Look
  • John Cusack on 1408
  • Inside Room 1408



Its title may make it sound like a historical epic ("1408 - The Year in Which Everything Changed"), but 1408 is actually a horror movie based on a Stephen King short story.

John Cusack plays an author who writes travel guides to haunted hotels and the like, but no longer believes in the supernatural himself. He checks into Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in uptown New York despite warnings by the hotel manager (played by Samuel L. Jackson). "There have been 56 deaths in 1408," he cautions Cusack's character in typical L. Jackson style. "It's an evil f***ing room!"

King's The Shining was about a haunted hotel, but 1408 is just about a single hotel room.

Cusack soon regrets his decision. Before you can say ?poltergeist? the one supernatural event occurs after the other as he discovers what the Eagles meant when they sang, ?you can check out, but you can never leave . . .?

An effective old-school horror flick, 1408 relies on atmospherics and modern special effects to deliver its chills instead of gore as is the fashion with "torture porn" flicks such as Saw and Hostel nowadays. Much of the movie's success however depends on Cusack's performance as a likeable everyday guy. Since the movie is basically one guy stuck in hotel room all the time, any lesser actor probably wouldn't have pulled it off. But Cusack's charm and humanity carries the movie.

Towards the end 1408 unravels a bit as the filmmakers seemed unsure how to end it all (they were - see below), but the movie is perfect late-night viewing alone on DVD one night.

THE DISC: This is the two-disc collector's edition and not the single disc version. For some reason it was decided to present the director's earlier cut of the movie which wasn't shown in the theatres in its entirety. Why this was done is unclear: the director's cut offers an alternate ending and some moments of extra gore, but not much else. Merely adding the alternate ending separately would have been a better option. The audio commentary on the second disc also reveals that the theatrical version's ending was decided on after test audiences complained that the original ending was too downbeat.

Director Mikael Hafstrom (Derailed) himself is uncertain as to which ending he prefers himself and to be honest both endings have their merits. (Even the final ?upbeat? ending is ambiguous and bittersweet.) It is recommended that you check out the theatrical version on the first disc and afterwards skip to the final relevant chapters on the second disc.

NOTE: 1408 is the 75th Stephen King film to be made! And there is no end in sight, with Frank Darabont's The Mist coming in 2008 and a Bag of Bones adaptation to mention only two!



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