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Genre: Horror
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
Director: Mikael Håfström
Rating: PG (Horror)
Year Made: 2007






Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9
Sound: -
Running Time: 1 hr 48 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




Based on a story by suspense master Stephen King, 1408 is a gripping "roller-coaster of a head trip" (Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly) that will have you on the edge of your seat. John Cusack delivers "a tour de force performance" (Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter) as a skeptical writer investigating paranormal events. When he insists on staying in the reportedly haunted room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel against the grave warning of the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson), he discovers the room's deadly secret - an evil so powerful, no one has ever survived an hour within its walls.


It’s puzzling why Hollywood is churning out endless amount of horror-slasher rather than chilling, spooky horror thrillers that will knock your socks off. Remember "Poltergeist" and "The Shining"?

Released last summer with a culmination box-office of US$130 million, Dimension’s "1408" was a surprise hit for a horror movie that doesn’t feature top stars nor is it a spin-off from a successful franchise other than it was based on a Stephen King’s short story.

"1408" tells the story of Mike Enslin (John Cusack), a supernatural writer who checked into a haunted hotel room on the purpose of researching for the closing chapter of his new book only to find out that he can never leave the room alive. Instead of relying on excessive usage of jump-scare tactics and violence, Mikael Håfström opted the old-fashioned way of telling the story. Classics liked "The Shining" bide its time to reveal the terror, "1408" too plod along unhurriedly and you realized 25 minutes has gone by before Mike actually enters room 1408. The tension starts to build up when Cusack’s character is being confined in the room. The fun part is knowing the ghouls and ghosts will take its cue but question is when. This I guess Håfström and Cusack did a remarkable job, the former created a huge air of suspense and the latter puts in a convincing performance as the tortured, atheist Mike Enslin.

Despite that, "1408" starts to lose her footing by the third quarter. King’s original short story was tense and concise but obviously lacks enough material to sustain a feature film to be honest. There’s constant flashback about Mike’s late daughter, his relationship with his estranged wife and dad. Without divulging much detail, the movie version thrives hard to build on the sinister tone but ends up as a case of showing too much and tells too little. Samuel L. Jackson who portrayed the Dolphin hotel’s manager turns in a memorable performance and mouth a certain warning that will send shivers down your spine even though he has less than 15 minutes of screentime.

"1408" owes part of its success to an old-school approach to the material, with its creepy soundtrack and claustrophobic cinematography, it breathes fresh air to the horror genre which otherwise dominated by the usual dismembered limbs and high body count. If not, for the convenient closure that resembles some cheap TV series, this might turns out to be another King's horror classic on your video shelf.


This DVD edition only comes with "The Mist" trailer presented in ridiculously VCD-like quality.


The video transfer is reasonably passable but the audio is somewhat questionable. Can't help to hear that the ambient and background sound effects overlapped the dialogue at times despite adjusting the volume knob a couple of times. Disappointing.



Review by Linus Tee


. 1408 (Movie Review)

. 1408 (Soundtrack Review)

Other titles from Scorpio East:

. There Will Be Blood

. The Nanny Diaries

. The Magic Gourd

. Death Proof

. Dead Air

. A Tale of Mari and Her Puppies

. My Wife is a Gambling Maestro

. Fatal Move

. An Empress and the Warriors

. Ah Long Pte Ltd

. Talking Cock The Movie

. 2 Faces of My Girlfriend

. Lust Caution

. 881

. Brothers

. Ratatouille

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Alone

. Bar Paradise

. China Vampire

. Hooked On You

. Underdog

. Keeping Up With The Steins

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. Meet The Robinsons

. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

. Meet The Robinsons

. Wild Hogs

. Breaking And Entering

. Jump In

. Primeval

. Forest of Death

. The Fox and the Hound 2

. The Fox and the Hound

. Dumbo

. One Last Dance

. Protege

. The Curse of the Golden Flower

. A Battle Of Wits

. Rain Dogs

. Heavenly Mission

. Exiled

. Operation Undercover

. Diary

. Fatal Contact

. Singapore Dreaming

. Rob-B-Hood

. On The Edge

. The World's Fastest Indian

. Dragon Tiger Gate

. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

. The Myth

. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid


This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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