ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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1408 (2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Mikael Håfström

Starring:
John Cusack/Mike
Samuel L. Jackson/Gerald
Mary McCormack/Lily
Tony Shalhoub/Sam
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Jaded and mourning paranormal investigator/writer Mike Enslin (Cusack) gets his meatballs handed to him on a plate when he decides to spend the night in the mucho haunted Room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel. Ouch…now that’s what I call a supernatural whooping!
THE LOWDOWN

Nothing would make me happier than experiencing a paranormal event! - Mike

This “based off a Stephen King short story” flick was perfect timing for yours truly. I’ve been a on King kick since I recently read CELL and have been going backwards to re-munch on his old work when the opportunity lends itself (am tapping The Mist short story right now).

Although I’ve never read this tale out of King’s 2002 horror collection Everything’s Eventual; I sure felt all warm and fuzzy while watching this cinematic rendition as it reeked of King! Which is a good thing since the adaptations that are able to transcend the King vibe successfully onto the screen are rarer than a monogamous stripper who knows how to spell IQ. Taking its cue from King’s room number device from The Shining; 1408 didn’t ring around the dead lay when it came to machine-gunning potent spooks my way. The affair went down a bit like this: set-up, vicious fear pummeling – conclusion; that was it, that was all. Now don’t get me wrong, there was some substance in the house; with an unfortunate death in the protagonist’s life being the core of it; but the flick was obviously more interested in shaking, baking and scaring our asses non-stop than exploring characters and feelings. Nothing wrong with that, if the ride is a gnarly one, thankfully it was here.

1408 reminded me of a gritty boxing match. In one corner John “freaking” Cusack armed with his smug look, potent acting chops and wild hair. In the other corner; an evil f*cking haunted room with every slick fright trick in the book lodged up its gloves. Bell rings… let the bout begin! And what a battle it was! The flick slyly started off its tomfoolery low-key, using trued and tried scare techniques on its lead and us. As the clock ticked forward; the tension grew and the beatings became more and more severe. Powerful left hooks were launched and a couple of well placed uppercuts took Cusack and this dumbass by surprise, sending us both to the mat; begging for a tissue and our mommies. Finally the ante was jacked up to full tilt when the bully room dropped strategy, technique and rules and turned everything into an all out street fight; it was no holds barred in room 1408! I was loving it!

Big props go out to the creative team behind this vice-grip for managing to take a story that largely took place in one room with one dude and keep it compelling and fresh for the most part. I was hooked in mouth the whole way through as the movie just kept topping itself in the creepy, boo scares and effective suspense departments. John Cusack carrying the flick helped matters as well! Although Cusack has never been a fav of mine, I couldn't help but totally be on his side here. He held this macabre circus together like a one-man-show-pro, made me care about his character and made me believe in the warped events that were befalling him. Add to all that some amusing twists that I actually saw coming (you will too if you know your horror) but that were a hoot nonetheless when the hammer dropped, a handful of circumstantially funny moments that rubbed me the right way, a clever use of sound/silence and a groovy appearance by one of the coolest mofo around i.e. Samuel L Jackson and you get a bumpy rollercoaster ride of thrills, yuk-yuks and chills.

Now I did have a couple of bones to pick with this bony bitch. Now and again I felt "post-prod over-cooking” off this one; especially during the first block. It hurt its flow and structure and had me disoriented for a bit early on. Which leads me to the substance at hand; it was there no doubt and so was the potential for drama and heart tugging. Sadly every time the flick would dip its toe in that pool, it would never go deep enough to fully whoop me emotionally. In my insignificant opinion, a tad more leaning towards the drama would have made the whole stronger. Then again, I know that I know nothing; hence what the f*ck do I know! Finally some un-intentional laughter popped out now and again with the Mini-Sam Jackson who lives in a mini bar cracking me up big time. Whatever was said during that scene went over my head; I was too busy laughing my ass off!

All in all though; 1408 started strong, scared hard, rolled on smooth and ended at just the right time. Could it have been more than a vacuous “fun times” ride at the out house? Yup; it was all there but somebody didn’t want to go that way. With that said; I jumped; got the heebies, laughed and had an overall fly times at the movies. You can call me a satisfied customer! Or an asshole! YOUR PICK!
GORE
We get some light blood and semi disturbing imagery - this one didn’t play the gore card.
ACTING
John Cusack (Mike) put out an appealing, colorful and highly credible show that had a strong hand in keeping me in the game. I can never get enough of Samuel L. Jackson (Gerald) and here was no exception. His stint was brief but memorable…as always. Mary McCormack (Lily) lent her limited role some depth and heart via her grounded performance. Was that Tony Shalhoub (Sam) popping up for one groovy dialogue hefty bit? You bet it was! He owned it!
T & A
No skirts or tops were dropped…a good thing since John Cusack IS this film. Last thing I wanna see is him drop his top or skirt.
DIRECTING
Mikael Håfström helmed this puppy with gusto; hitting all the right beats in terms of his scare set pieces, bringing out the proper dread filled atmosphere (the able cinematography sure helped in that respect) and knowing how to frame for uber whoopass. Me likey!
SOUNDTRACK
The score here was efficiently subtle in the way it reinforced the images’ impact without ever being intrusive. I also dug the sly use of “"We've Only Just Begun"” by The Carpenters. Fun stuff!
BOTTOM LINE
1408 was a brilliantly acted (Cusack owned this one like nobody's poodle!), well paced, mucho frightening and utterly enjoyable sit down that rarely let up for a Scooby-Snack. Granted; I personally would’ve liked more emphasis on the drama (hence upping the stakes of the fear shenanigans) and found some of the editing a tad too tight at times; but no big deal Taco-bean; I had a truckload of scary fun with it all! A freaking blast! So Mission accomplished;1408 came through!
BULL'S EYE
1408 is the 2nd short story in the audio book Blood and Smoke (2000). It was slapped down in written form in 2002 as part King's collection of short stories "Everything's Eventual."

King originally wrote a couple of pages of the story, to be used solely as an example as to the writing process in his non-fiction book "ON WRITING". He eventually got inspired and wrote the whole story.

Word has it that the 1408 DVD will sport deleted scenes and an alternate ending.

CHECK IN ROOM 1408 HERE

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+0
4:26AM on 04/04/2010

A Good Time

Very Entertaining film. One of the best S.King related films.
Very Entertaining film. One of the best S.King related films.
Your Reply:



10:20AM on 01/22/2009
First I have to say....Why review the fucking movie when you haven't seen it yet just to give it 4/4 and say how much you want to see it? Fucking retard.

Anyways this movie was actually MUCH better than the short story. I loved this flick, it kept you thinking the whole time about how he could possibly get out, and the suspense was kept very high. Very good acting as well and I loved Cusack.
First I have to say....Why review the fucking movie when you haven't seen it yet just to give it 4/4 and say how much you want to see it? Fucking retard.

Anyways this movie was actually MUCH better than the short story. I loved this flick, it kept you thinking the whole time about how he could possibly get out, and the suspense was kept very high. Very good acting as well and I loved Cusack.
Your Reply:



+0
1:19AM on 10/14/2008

SURPRISE HIT OF 2007

I loved this movie. Felt like a classic Hitchcock horror. Has thrills, Spills and gave me Chills No Doubt. And now everytime i hear the carpenters, i fear the room is gonna kill me!
I loved this movie. Felt like a classic Hitchcock horror. Has thrills, Spills and gave me Chills No Doubt. And now everytime i hear the carpenters, i fear the room is gonna kill me!
Your Reply:



12:34PM on 06/22/2007

Different

I'm not a king reader either. Yet I have seen those "Based on a book/short story by Stephen King" movies and i must say this is one of the more memorable ones. I think this was an intimate movie. Since its one guy in a haunted room you really get the feeling that you are there with him. The fact that it was Cusack was just an added bonus. Scary and Gripping this is easily one of the best summer movies if not one of the best of the year.
I'm not a king reader either. Yet I have seen those "Based on a book/short story by Stephen King" movies and i must say this is one of the more memorable ones. I think this was an intimate movie. Since its one guy in a haunted room you really get the feeling that you are there with him. The fact that it was Cusack was just an added bonus. Scary and Gripping this is easily one of the best summer movies if not one of the best of the year.
Your Reply:



7:05PM on 06/20/2007

asd

When I first saw the trailer for 1408 - my interested was gripped right away, I'm not a King reader, but I enjoy King's adaptations no matter how faithful they are. He's truly a real horror author. The more I hear and re-watch the trailer for 1408, the more I want to see it. And Arrow's review does it for me. I'm psyched
When I first saw the trailer for 1408 - my interested was gripped right away, I'm not a King reader, but I enjoy King's adaptations no matter how faithful they are. He's truly a real horror author. The more I hear and re-watch the trailer for 1408, the more I want to see it. And Arrow's review does it for me. I'm psyched
Your Reply:



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