Anyone who writes about modern horror in literature and film cannot ignore one man: Stephen King, the synonym for goosebumps, occult horror and ice-cold thrills. Regardless of whether it is a novel or a short story, King masters the game of horror in almost every packaging. King fans must be all the more disappointed with most of the previous film adaptations of his horror stories. Only a few like Stanley Kubrick's classic Shining or the simple but effective psychopath piece Misery also convinced on the cinema screen. At the same time, far too often largely talentless directors and screenwriters tried their hand at King’s stories, which were also often filled with B and C movie staff. Ironically, his “serious” works like The Condemned and The Green Mile fared far better, both artistically and commercially.
Swedish director Mikael Håfström (Derailed, The Drowning Ghost), tried and tested in the thriller and horror genre, was eager to avoid the mistakes of most of his colleagues from the start. Story Zimmer 1408, published in 2002 as part of a collection of short stories, was to be cast with a thoroughbred actor and staged as straightforwardly as possible. Eventually they found what they were looking for at John Cusack. He took on the role of the cynical bestselling author Mike Enslin, disappointed with life, who has made it his business to expose supposedly supernatural phenomena as crude hocus-pocus. But when he checks into room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel in New York, things begin to develop in a direction that is increasingly inexplicable to him. Only too late does he realize that he shouldn't have ignored the hotel manager's (Samuel L. Jackson) warnings.
As is typical for King (see The Green Mile), the hero goes through an inner purification process, at the end of which he openly questions his previously prevailing rational worldview. The developments of the last twenty minutes with their expected final punch offer space for all kinds of speculations as to the extent to which the Kafkaesque nightmare that Mike had previously suffered was more than just a product of his own subconscious. Clear answers will not be found, which is frustrating at first, but ultimately adequately reflects the theme of King's story, which revolves around the painful, never-ending processing of suffered trauma.
Room 1408 could just as easily be presented in a different disguise. What King and Håfström present to us here could also serve as a template for a serious psychological drama. One person, one room, one tragedy. But instead of a subtle striptease of the soul, those responsible put loud shock effects presented with announcement. In terms of quantity, only a few productions can compete with Håfström's work this year. That alone is not enough. The "Boo!" Moments used excessively under the sudden howling of the sound track, especially in the middle section, wear out rather quickly in their accumulation.
On the other hand, the film plays extremely elegantly with the charms of the very limited setup on a visual level. As with Derailed, Håfström worked with cameraman Benoît Delhomme. The latter lights up the mysterious hotel room like the physical opponent of John Cusack. The lighting and the gloomy color design give the place its own personality, which the apparently serene realist and rationalist has to face before the ground is torn from under his feet and his state of mind slowly assimilates that of Jack Nicholson in Shining.
The room is the hurricane, in whose eye John Cusack and the viewer look for explanations for the inexplicable. King is known to love adding religious undertones and all sorts of psychic nonsense to his stories. So also in this case. After a coherent exposition, the film quickly reaches a point at which one can either leave the cinema shaking one's head or indulge in the melting tableau of surreal images. Anyone who leaves misses an act of violence. With brute force, Cusack screams the pain of a traumatized family man out of his body. Emerging paranoia, sheer fear of death, in this role you relieve him of every emotion, no matter how strange the rest of the film feels.
Room 1408, which is sometimes reminiscent of a David Lynch puzzle and evokes a comparable disorientation and uncertainty, is only recommended for die-hard King friends who don't mind the spiritual, supernatural lashes, despite its outstanding leading actor and all the optical finesse.
>> written by Marcus Wessel
written on January 20th, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Great Stephen King film adaptation! Exciting, scary and with some shock effects! That's just great!
written on 06/16/2009 at 6:00 p.m.
Very, very scary; So if you are planning to watch a film with a new girl, so that you can hug her and show what a great pike you are, this is exactly the right film ;-)
written on 09/14/2008 at 10:00 p.m.
Can't do that much with the reviews. Together with Shining, that was one of the scariest films of all time: The scene when he climbs out of the window and suddenly the other windows are bricked up and the plan on the door changed is great. Then the idea of the "self" at the window, on the opposite side. The alarm clock, etc. Anyone who has dealt a bit with Stephen King has probably already noticed that his stories (as far as I know) never end with a "Happy" let alone an "End" .... always at the end comes another horror. Great, you can philosophize about history for hours!
written on 08/29/2008 at 9:00 p.m.
Above all, the film has what one has missed most of the films of the last time and that is quality. Especially the beginning is told in a very exciting way. John Cusack just plays great. In my opinion, the smart author goes crazy a little too quickly, he could have endured a little until he runs through the room in a completely confused way. That would have kept things going a little longer. The effect with the sudden beep and subsequent deafness was great. I really think my TV is gone. The other effects are very professional and probably very expensive, but they wear out too quickly and don't really scare you. That means that the tension drops again towards the middle. However, the effects are worth seeing. At the end of the day, you don't really expect much anymore, then things turn completely again and become really good again. In any case, the film is better than the newly released work "The Fog" a sugar-sweet new edition of: The Fog, Alien, Arac Attack and War of the Worlds. That the editors rate this film higher than the clearly better room 1408 is a mystery to me.
written on 04/03/2008 at 4:00 p.m.
Average ghost movie that is way too mainstream to be really scary. In direct comparison with the reference work for ghost films "... until the blood freezes" (1963), "Room 1408" does not see any land. There are good beginnings, yes, but the film loses tension too quickly. Missed chance - unfortunately.
written on January 25th, 2008 at 10:00 p.m.
Very successful King film adaptation, which relies fully on psychological horror, as the current torture trend.
written on October 13, 2007 at 10:00 a.m.
John Cusack is cuddly, I cut off the blood supply to the forearm of my neighbor in the cinema, what more could you want? The room looks somehow totally scary, everything you could wish for in terms of eerie ... I said it is torn down, and he is back in the room, is just great. I would have only wished for more background information about why this is such a nasty room.
written on October 3rd, 2007 at 3:00 am
Well, I didn't want to give 10%; out of love for John Cusack * lol * But please, what was Samuel L. Jackson doing in this film? Why is he on the movie poster at all? How long did you see him? 10 min? At most !!! The film is not worth the money. Bitter disappointment !!!!!
written on 09/28/2007 at 11 p.m.
Definitely worth seeing. However, some questions remain unanswered: After bricking up the windows, the room writes "Burn me alive". In the end, the actor burns the room ... The room couldn't have given him the order to destroy himself (the room)? I also thought weird that WiFi worked even though everything else didn't work. I still thought the timing strange. The woman says she needs 15 minutes. The actor has exactly 14:99 minutes left to live, but the clock is ticking down faster than the woman can arrive. (Although I have to admit that it's splitting hairs because they could have been stopped, etc.) But the film is definitely shocking. I also found it creepy that he climbed into the shaft and this creature then chased him.
written on 09/22/2007 at 9:00 a.m.
my friend next to me cried out 2 times: D alone makes the film worth seeing for me in any case ... thought it was really great!
written on 09/21/2007 at 00:00
I honestly cannot understand the positive reviews of the film. Well, the first half an hour and especially the John Cusack scene in the opposite window were quite successful, but after that nothing really happened. And when the room was suddenly flooded, I lost the last goose bumps. After shocks like The Ring, a movie like this really can't keep me awake for a whole evening. Oh yes, and promoting the film with Samuel L. Jackson's mini-appearance can only be described as cheek
written on 09/18/2007 at 5:00 p.m.
I can only agree with the prescribers. Great movie. Wait 20 minutes to check in at 1408 and then you are trapped in this room. Lean effects, big impact. Fantastic.
written on 09/17/2007 at 9:00 a.m.
Probably one of the much better films of this year. After all the remake garbage, dozens of deformed people slaughtering in forests and many cheap productions with stories chewed through 1000 times, something fresh finally came back with 1408, which was filled with well-known and capable actors. And so the film slowly but surely builds up a story that sounds interesting from the hotel manager (S.L. Jackson). Once checked in in room 1408, the fun starts after a few minutes with the first harmless fright, but then increases over the course of the day increasingly well worth seeing. - Towards the end it gets a bit confusing, after a brief disappointment ("was that all?") Luckily we go to another round with room 1408 and thus towards the final end. And then there comes the point why the film was good until then, but unfortunately not a masterpiece either. For my taste there was somehow still missing a suitable resolution. If at first it is not yet sure whether everything was just a psycho trip, a tape brings a little more light into the darkness at the end, but what the whole thing is about, especially with this one ROOM 1408, in which so many people have committed suicide, unfortunately remained hidden from me ... a shame ... somehow screwed up at the end. - In spite of everything, 1408 is really "fun", not least because it is not the umpteenth infusion of an old story again. One of the few good films of 2007 ... or to put it in the words of the hotel manager: "The room is really bad!" ;)
written on 09/16/2007 at 02:00 a.m.
one of the best films I've ever seen ... really highly recommended!
written on 09/15/2007 at 8:00 p.m.
The film was absolutely lousy. 90 minutes of boredom packed into a pseudo-story with lame shock effects and an old-fashioned score. 1408 is definitely one of the worst horror films I have ever seen. C-movies from the video store have more charm there. And John Cusack also seems completely out of place in this cheap work.
written on 09/15/2007 at 6:00 p.m.
Finally another film that was worth it. Where at first it looked as if you were being presented with almost 2 hours of boredom, the film quickly grew into a "super movie"! If you haven't seen him (and also likes "crazy horror") you should definitely see Hans!
written on 09/15/2007 at 5:00 p.m.
Good film, suspense until the last minute. I cannot defend the criticism either. I give the 90% because the end somehow doesn't fit, you could have made something out of it
written on 09/14/2007 at 01:00 a.m.
Criticism completely strange. Long time not so scary in the cinema, and that was due to the general mood and not just the shock moments. Really great cinema!
written on 07/28/2007 at 3:00 p.m.
I cannot understand this criticism either! I saw the film in the original and my hands were soaked with sweat. No shock moment has worn off ...
written on 07/24/2007 at 10:00 p.m.
I saw the film in America ... and the film is awesome ... tension without end ... so I don't understand this criticism !!! I can only put this film to heart for every "suspense freak" !!!!