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Geist
06-23-2007, 12:00 PM
1408, as we soon learn adds up to 13, which is unlucky. 1408 is an unfortunate place to be, because it is the place of addiction. And that's what the story is about, addiction.

It's good to see Steven King re-hashing the themes of his old stories; 1408 is an abreviated version of The Shining, which was also about addiction. If King is out of fresh ideas, maybe that gives us all a little room to wedge in.

However, 1408 does a good job of taking us into the mind of a person tormented by any addiction, especially one who has fallen off the wagon. In fact, we're never really sure if the main character is hallucinating from an ICU bed (incidently like someone who is in the throws of DTs) or whether the events are really happening. In one scene a haunting voice on the hotel room phone says, "Even when you check out, you are never out." And a ghost of the main character's father who is an obvious wasteoid in a nursing home says to him, "As you are, so I was; As I am, so you will become." How true of addiction on both counts: when we're addicted, we are never free of it, it is always there waiting to retake us. Also, it robs us of our lives physically and mentally. And it runs in families.

Remember, Steven King was addicted to alcohol and cocain in the early 80's, as well as smoking. So, it' s no surprise that 1408 is conspicuously autobiographical, all the way down to the last scene where the main character is limping while using a single crutch, just as King did after his accident.

The story is about a writer who writes popular travel books featuring haunted hotels. He's cynical and jaded about the supernatural and has become an atheist since the death of his daughter. As part of his research for a new book, he insists on being able to stay in a room that is notoriously haunted. The manager of the hotel begs him not to do it, and tries everything to get him to stay away. The manager of the hotel, seems to represnt an AA sponsor.

The room represnts that place in a person's mind where the addiction has hold of them. In that room is all the ghosts that might be at the root of the psychological defense mechanism of addiction. There is the dead daughter, the father, the impulse towards self-destruction represented by ghosts that keep jumping out the window. There are many addictive elements planted in the story: booze, an unsmoked cigarrette, chocolate on the pillow cases, and porn on the TV.

The goal of the "evil" of the room seems to be to get folks to kill themselves, which also seems to be the goal of the "evil" of most addictions. The main character tries to escape the room, and in one part says into his tape recorder as he's climbing out onto the ledge of the building, "If I fall it was an accident; the room didn't win."

Characters are a problem in this movie. They are shallow. I can't remember the main character's name, and it really doesn't matter. One really ceases to care what happens to the main character early on, and as usual, the little girl ghost has wisdom beyond her developmental stage, given that she's only about ten. So, she instantly becomes fake and paper thin.

Having said that this is a horror flick, and it really does a good job with the theme of addiction--a ghost that many people are tormented by. It is worth seeing. It is worth seeing in the theater, and that says a lot about a movie these days.

1408 is a must see this summer. If I were to give it stars on a scale of 1-4 stars, I'd give it a 3.

Ed

Akuma
06-23-2007, 12:42 PM
Seeing as The Shining and 1408 were written two decades apart from each other, I'm willing to forgive.

Hollywood's a different story.
I'm looking at you, wacky white-cop-black-cop duo action movies.

seun
06-23-2007, 03:28 PM
Interesting review, Gord.

maestrowork
06-23-2007, 06:32 PM
I liked it... not as good as Secret Window but still better than most Stephen King movies. But I can't say it's a "must see." As a horror film, it's not that s scary (at least not for me), and I get scared easily.

WordGypsy
06-23-2007, 07:05 PM
I liked it... not as good as Secret Window but still better than most Stephen King movies. But I can't say it's a "must see." As a horror film, it's not that s scary (at least not for me), and I get scared easily.

Ah, the dreaded "I liked it. It was good." Personally I think I'll be skipping this one...

Will Lavender
06-23-2007, 07:13 PM
I liked it... not as good as Secret Window but still better than most Stephen King movies. But I can't say it's a "must see." As a horror film, it's not that s scary (at least not for me), and I get scared easily.

Just watched Secret Window night before last. I bet I've had 50 students rave about it over the years, so I thought I'd break down and rent it.

I...liked it. Certainly didn't love it. I thought Depp's character was strange; it was almost like they gave him freedom to goof around. The movie deadens in spots where the filmmakers can't quite seem to make it go forward (which is unsurprising considering it's based on a short story). And John Turturro's character wasn't scary at all to me although I usually love him. The accent was too false, too phony; and the way Depp reacted to him was necessary to the ending but didn't allow their confrontations to have enough tension. I think if Turtorro were more scary, more believable, the entire ending scene would be more effective.

Gillhoughly
06-23-2007, 11:17 PM
Movie reviews need to be in the "Pop Culture" thread, not the novel writing thread.

You might want to ask a moderator to shift this before they do it for you.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=149

Geist
06-24-2007, 01:12 AM
Interesting review, Gord.

Thank you, Seun.

Ed

Geist
06-24-2007, 01:16 AM
I liked it... not as good as Secret Window but still better than most Stephen King movies. But I can't say it's a "must see." As a horror film, it's not that s scary (at least not for me), and I get scared easily.

I would agree that the majority of scenes are only the MC alone in the hotel room, and that gets a little boring, even when he's busting the place up, but there were a couple of shocking moments. My problem with the horror, is that since one is always left wondering whether or not it's all in the guy's head, one never really knows whether they should be scared at all. And with the MC as paper thin as he was, it's hard to be scared.

After all, in order to be scared in a movie whe have to care about the characters being affected by the action, right?

Ed

Geist
06-24-2007, 01:19 AM
Movie reviews need to be in the "Pop Culture" thread, not the novel writing thread.

You might want to ask a moderator to shift this before they do it for you.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=149

If they want to move it then they can. I figured it fit here because it's an analysis of a story, not just an opinion on a movie.

Ed

maestrowork
06-24-2007, 02:08 AM
After all, in order to be scared in a movie whe have to care about the characters being affected by the action, right?


(SPOILER)


Exactly. The problem is that I really didn't care much about his character to care if it's in his head or if he's going to survive the room or what. Interestingly, I care more about if his wife is going to be involved and get killed... I also didn't care much about the little girl. I think that's the thing -- I just don't care about these characters enough to make me scared. And the stuff that happens just seem to be repetitive -- it feels like a 45-minute movie dragging on to 1.5 hours.

jodiodi
06-24-2007, 06:35 AM
We enjoyed it and it had some individually creepy moments. Then again, I'm a pretty good audience, willing to suspend disbelief and wanting to be entertained. Only mind-numblingly dull or radioactively bad crapfests earn my disdain. Of course, I loathed a lot of supposedly 'great' and/or 'important' books or movies or plays.

Dawno
06-24-2007, 09:05 AM
If they want to move it then they can. I figured it fit here because it's an analysis of a story, not just an opinion on a movie.

Ed


Seeing how the discussion isn't about the story as much as the movie, I have to agree with Gillhoughly. Moved.

Geist
06-24-2007, 10:48 AM
(SPOILER)


Exactly. The problem is that I really didn't care much about his character to care if it's in his head or if he's going to survive the room or what. Interestingly, I care more about if his wife is going to be involved and get killed... I also didn't care much about the little girl. I think that's the thing -- I just don't care about these characters enough to make me scared. And the stuff that happens just seem to be repetitive -- it feels like a 45-minute movie dragging on to 1.5 hours.

I don't think I would disagree with anything you've said.

maestrowork
06-24-2007, 05:37 PM
(SPOILER)

I think they made a mistake of revealing his child's death slowly -- we didn't even know about that until midway into the movie, and by then it's a little too late. I know they want to be suspenseful about what's in his head and why he might be a good candidate to kill himself, but I'd rather the editing or script clues us in in the beginning. The previews, on the other hand, gave us clues that he lost his faith and became highly cynical because of his daughter's death (I also hated how the trailer revealed so much -- including some key scenes near the end of the movie). I think we would have cared about the character more if that information was revealed earlier on. What we have here is just a cranky, cynical hack writer being obnoxious about Room 1408, without much back story about him to make us care.

jodiodi
06-24-2007, 10:38 PM
I guess I didn't mind because I'd read the story a few years ago and vaguely remembered it enough to fill in some details for me. We enjoyed the nice little creepy touches.

Stew21
06-25-2007, 06:51 PM
As short stories go, I liked this story of King's a lot. I read it a few years back and really liked it.
(the story started as an example on how to edit in On Writing, and he liked the premise of it enough to write the whole thing, which ended up in a short story collection.) I'll be interested in seeing this movie.

WriterInChains
06-27-2007, 07:11 PM
I just saw 1408 last night & really liked it. I'm sure I read the story, but didn't remember enough for it to make a difference. IMO, the way the daughter's story was revealed by "the room" was great and Cusack's (whose character's name is Mike, btw) acting sucked me right in.

I loved the ending, it wasn't what I expected but nice & creepy. It's not often I'm surprised at the movies.

Oh, and the ending scene in Mike's study -- that looks exactly the way I pictured King's study when he talked about it last November. About how his wife was redecorating and everything was packed up like it will be when he's dead. It made the final note of the movie that much creepier for me.

Sometimes an evil hotel room, is just an evil hotel room. :D

ETA: {{SPOILER ALERT}}



But, if the room is supposed to represent the character's addiction to alcohol, don'tcha gotta love how he broke out?! An $800 bottle of booze is a helluva way to get free of an alcohol addiction. :)

Writer2011
06-28-2007, 02:13 AM
I do want to see it, and love Stephen King...I've heard really good reviews..but then again I never listen to what they have to say...I've seen some movies where they're given excellent reviews and the movie sucks eggs..

But then again, I go to movies to be entertained, not to think and nitpick or over analyze.

aadams73
07-01-2007, 11:14 PM
I liked the first third and then it took a serious turn for the toilet. By the time the lackluster ending rolled around I just didn't care.

But the first third or so gave me some good jumps.