You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave... ~Eagles
I have--I mean, Mrs. Film Geek has--a huge crush on John Cusack. Since his days of not wanting to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed, she's been hooked. And so have I.
In a manly, respectful way, of course.
So, as we stood in line at the theater, the debate was quick: "Knocked Up, or Cusack? Cusack, or Knocked Up?" It was a no-brainer.
1408 is the sort of old-school thriller movie-goers see too little of these days. With the current trend toward torture porn, flicks that scare the bejeezus outta you with a good story and a creepy undertone are too few and far between. 1408 aspires to be that, and despite a few minor problems it succeeds.
Cusack is Mike Enslin, a once promising writer fallen into a despair that effects him professionally as well as personally. He pays the bills by writing hack occult books about haunted sites across the country, even though he doesn't believe in ghosts or demons. In fact, Enslin doesn't believe in much of anything; a tragedy that occurred in his life a few years earlier altered him in dramatic fashion. He drinks too much, is highly jaded and has alienated everyone in his life.
While looking for a haunted hotel to stay in so he can finish the book he is writing, Enslin ends up in room 1408 of The Dolphin Hotel. The hotel manager, played in low-key fashion by Samuel L. Jackson, warns Enslin against staying in the room. There are no ghosts or demons, Jackson says. It's just that 1408 is "one fucking evil room."
And it is.
Enslin's stay there is really an exploration into the despair, angst and failings of his personal life. The room taunts him with his failings, and tempts him to end his suffering with suicide. The movie is a roller-coaster type of psychedelic ride where Enslin--and the movie viewer--isn't always sure what's real, and what's not. Even the ending is unclear.
1408 delivers a terrific scare without gore and without torture. I guarantee at least one shriek and one almost-out-of-your-seat jump if you see the flick.
And besides, Cusack rocks.