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Let's 'Encyclopedia Brown' this bitch! - 1408 Review (Spoiler Free)
10/20/2007 10:47 PM by Chris Toohey
For my birthday my wife gave me the Director's Cut 2-Disc DVD of 1408. 1408, based on a short story by Stephen King, is one of those rare treats: a book-to-movie adaptation that actually works. I'm a solid King fan, and would recommend first picking up Blood and Smoke (see below), an excellent audiobook of short stories which includes King's reading of 1408. I don't care who you are - his telling of the short story, his version of "the haunted hotel", will leave you with an uneasy feeling that's bound to resurface the next time you get a key from the concierge.
But back to the movie...
The movie's protagonist is played by John Cusack, who's amazing in everything he's in (IMHO). His performance in 1408 is no different. John Cusack's Mike Enslin is a skeptic horror writer with a completely non-fantastical yet painful past. Cusack plays this character with an amazing range of emotion, in what basically comes down to a one-man play, but (and this is a testament to his skill) still remains perfectly believable despite the fantastical (and paranomal) situation in which he finds himself. There's not one point in this movie that your "joyful suspension of disbelief" is shattered by a missed beat or a "c'mon, no one would do that!"-mistep in the script.
Like I said, it's one of those (sadly) rare book-to-movie adaptation's where it's apparent that not only did the production read the story, but they also liked what they read. The proof of that is in 1408.
And don't worry - if you've heard/read 1408 before, you'll not only still enjoy this movie (maybe even more if you have in fact), but you'll still be on the edge of your seat.
I won't spoil anything for those of you who haven't read it, but an exchange between two characters at the end of the theatrical version (which I'd recommend over the alternate-ending you'll see on Disc 2) completely... well, the word "validated" comes to mind.