Saturday, June 30
John Cusack is the king. He's no George Clooney, I'll give him that, but what he lacks in the suaveness category he more than makes up for with his everyday charms and quick wit. He's relatable: all the guys want to hang with him and all the ladies want to marry him. He's friggin' John Cusack for fucks sake, one cool cat, and one of my favorite Hollywood leading men. Having said that...
1408, however, brings us into a new sort of situation for Johnny boy. It's not like he hasn't done the "thriller" before (Identity anyone?)but this movie is something completely different. Cusack stars as Mike Enslin, a writer, who seems to have lost his way and his voice after the death of his daughter. In need of funds, Mike decides to make his living writing about the only thing he seems to be interested in now, hauntings. He spends his time checking in and out of "haunted" hotels and cemeteries, not necessarily for fun, but more for the fact that he is obsessed with reaching out to his dearly departed child.
After many overly hyped, but failed attempts at finding anything remotely paranormal, Mike contemplates leaving the biz...but not before receiving a surprisingly simple message from The Dolphin Hotel in NY, warning him not to enter room 1408. Mike does his homework and finds that many of the rooms occupants have committed suicide,obviously, he has to check it out. Disregarding the hotel managers(Samuel L. Jackson) warnings, saying none of the occupants, 56 deaths in total, have ever lasted more than an hour inside, Enslin checks in. Let the fun begin!
If you love Cusack (or Cutesy as I like to call him) then this is your cup of tea, because that's it: Cusack in a room. Could've been the title to the movie. And while there are definitely "jumpy" moments, it left me wondering..."Okay, was that real? or imaginary?" Though his name may be in the front running of the credits, Samuel L. Jackson is no more than a fly on the wall. He inhabits maybe 3 scenes in the entire film, maybe. Once as a warning, once as an imaginary figure, and once with a less than exciting line of, "Well done, Mr. Enslin. Well done." What!? How can you have Samuel L. Jackson in a movie...Samuel L. Jackson!!...and only have him say fuck once!? What the fuck is that about?
You can't blame John, Sam, or even the director for this unimaginable flick. I mean, yes, they could have sustained from making it into a movie, but come one, we all know where the blame lies...Stephen King. Yes, I know he is the unofficial King of Horror...but really, has he written a decent ending thriller since...since..."The Shining?" Seriously...and this film, in typical King fashion, leaves more than a few unanswered questions, hence more than a few (myself included) unhappy audience members. No more, please, no more.
The JackScore: 2 out of 5 stars.