In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.
The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel's posessed room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr. Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
While driving from the first hotel, there is an outer shot of the jeep showing a small, 2 lane road, with trees right next to it. In the next shot, there is an additional lane added to the right side of the road, a car and a truck appear from behind, and now the trees are a lot further from the road it's self. See more »
I decided to watch this after Polanski's "the Tenant" and that was probably a bad choice, because that film is precious.
This one consists of three elements, typical of the King formula.
The first is the expression of terror, shaped safely so that you can watch but not be personally threatened. I think this is a King invention. Here, we know WE would have taken seriously the warnings so he deserves what he gets. It relieves us.
The second element is trite, so far as I am concerned. Also a King specialty is to weave some sort of emotional trauma into the otherwise merely decorative horror. Here it is the death of our character's child, which happened before we meet him. This allows for the final zinger.
The third element is the stuff I study and that King knows well. I call it narrative folding. Situations are nested in each other. Time gets shifted, at the same time that the period in the room proceeds in real time, even with a clock counting down. Ghosts inhabit ghosts and all people are ghosts. Cold is hot. Water is land. Daughter is wife.
This is the stuff that makes the film work, and I think it is done pretty well. Its why they picked Cusak. He understands this stuff. Has since "Malkovich" and "Fidelity" and mastered in "Identity."
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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