Usually, I don't review things I watch on TV, but since the current economic climate has made it a little bit harder for me to stockpile and amass large quantities of DVD's, I've turned to a service that had gone unused during more fertile and prosperous times: my DVR's On Demand movie feature. This week I was able to catch "1408", a movie based on a Stephen King story, that I had intended to watch, but never got around to catching it in the theaters nor had the opportunity to buy on DVD.
"1408" is about Mike Enslin: a novelist played by John Cusack. Enslin's current bread and butter is writing books about haunted locales. Hotels, graveyards, whatever. He goes there, stays a night, and writes about the place. But he's never seen anything supernatural as of yet. Sure, he's stayed in creepy places, but nothing, as of yet, has made him a believer in the occult.
He's also living quite the miserable existence. Thinking that his best writing days are past him, and having to deal with the loss of his young daughter and a marriage that fell apart, we get to see him check out one of these haunted inn's and some of his mundane day-to-day before he gets a postcard, for "The Dolphin" Hotel in New York, with the cryptic "Don't enter 1408" message written on it. This, of course, is seen as a challenge and Enslin makes sure his publisher puts him in that room for a night.
Also in this movie is Samuel L. Jackson, who plays "The Dolphin" Hotel's manager, a man with two purposes in the movie. Not letting anyone in that room and delivering as much exposition as possible in the shortest amount of time. He's not in the movie much, but when he is, he delivers. Information that is. You get the whole, tragic back story of the room in about 5 - 10 minutes.
But he fails to keep Cusack's character out of the room. His jaded character gets in there, and starts his writing process as if it were any other job he's had before. But, the room quickly makes itself known to him by doing a couple of simple things. Things that rattle the protagonist, but doesn't quite convince him. Then, the room gets violent and gives him 60 minutes to live.
"1408" has its moments. But, it is not by all means, a horror movie. Sure, there are some spooky things happening. But to me, it was more a suspense type of a movie. Did I get scared? Not really. The performances are pretty average. There wasn't much that surprised me or made me want to recommend it. I mean, if it's free and you happen to come across it on TV or "On Demand", definitely watch it. You won't feel like you wasted an hour and 45 minutes. But you will feel like you wasted 15 - 20 bucks if you go out and buy it.
So overall, not a bad movie, but not a great one either. There's a doozy of an unresolved issue towards the end of the movie, but hey, no one's perfect right?