1408 - Don't Check This Out
| I guess I must not scare easily. Call me impenetrable but a miniature Sam Jackson talking back to me in the hotel bar fridge doesn’t frighten me.
However, the makers of 1408 seem to think it’s going to frighten audiences. They also think that Technicolor ghosts jumping out windows and pictures on the wall changing (a la The Haunted Mansion) are going to scare audiences. Really all they do is illicit giggles. The film makers are so out of touch with scary that they think Karen Carpenter blasting out of the radio is terrifying. You wouldn’t believe how many times they relied on this gimmick.
So chalk it all up to another lame ass adaptation of a Stephen King story. In this one John Cusask is a disbeliever who writes about haunted places. He stays in room 1408, which is supposedly evil, so he can write about it. However he almost immediately goes crazy and a series of ridiculous, although not very frightening, things occur. He sees his dead daughter. Yes, the movie is that Hollywood cliché. The room snows on him. And yes, he finds a tiny Sam Jackson hiding in the bar fridge. Naturally, there are bugs. The film makers didn’t stop at any formulaic trick.
There are a few moments when the film begins to touch on scary. There is a disturbing moment when he realises the man in the window across the street is himself mimicking his every move. Then he sees someone walk up behind his doppelganger. However the film squanders that and rarely builds up to the intensity again. He gets bricked in at one point but the film never manages to create a real sense of claustrophobia. 1408 is about as scary as The Haunted Mansion.
1408 suffers from Return of the King-itis. It never ends. It just keeps going on and on as soon as you think it’s over, there is another boring, and even less frightening scene.
I guess I must have a terribly strong constitution because the tricks that 1408 employs just left me cold. They weren’t even ridiculous enough to make me laugh.