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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/08/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Enjoyable chiller with some terrific suspense scenes and a superb performance from John Cusack.

What's it all about?
Based on story by Stephen King, 1408 stars John Cusack as Mike Enslin, a writer who specialises in debunking ghost stories. When he hears about a series of unexplained deaths that occurred in room 1408 of New York's Dolphin Hotel, his professional curiosity compels him to check in, despite the grave warnings of the hotel manager (Samuel L Jackson).

Once inside, Enslin finds that the room is actually evil and also that, not content with locking him in, it intends to torment him with images and sounds of his estranged wife (Mary McCormack) and dead daughter (Jasmine Jessica Anthony).

The Good
Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom (who made the Oscar-nominated Evil) builds a thoroughly creepy atmosphere before unleashing some terrific suspense sequences. The fact that the majority of the action takes place in one room adds a strong sense of claustrophia and Hafstrom uses that to his advantage rather than let it restrict the film.

This is Cusack's best part in a long time and he's absolutely superb as Enslin, imbuing him with a world-weary sadness and cynicism that works brilliantly. There's also strong support from Mary McCormack and Samuel L Jackson, although his two scenes don't really justify his equal billing status on the poster.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that it doesn't know how to end and it settles for tossing out several different climaxes and effectively asking the audience which one it likes best. This is a shame, because up until the final ten minutes or so, it's a superb psychological horror flick.

Worth seeing?
Despite reservations about the ending, this is still a suspenseful, disturbing and thoroughly enjoyable supernatural thriller with a terrific performance from John Cusack. Recommended.

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Content updated: 25/08/2019 18:07

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