Saturday, October 06, 2007
"Do you know why I can stay in your spooky old room Mr. Olin? Because I know that ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties don't exist. And even if they did, theres no god to protect us from them is there?"
John Cusack is Mike Enslin, a writer of guides like, "The 10 Most Haunted Hotels" and "The 10 Most Haunted Cemeteries." Instead of stars he uses "skulls" to rate the places he travels to and has come to believe, as you can probably tell from the above quote, that such things are not real. (Plus there is that nice atheist tag.) He travels to New York City to stay in the famed Dolphin Hotel, specifically room 1408, to see what all the fuss is about.
Obviously, there have been lots of deaths in room 1408, a number of well documented suicides that Mike knows about from his research, but also a high number of deaths by "natural causes" that ups the body count to 56. Mike is informed of this by Mr. Olin, the hotel manager - just the right kind of role for Samuel L. Jackson. Mr. Olin tries in vain to talk Mike out of staying in the room, explaining that no one has ever lasted more than one hour. Of course - again, see above quotation - Mike insists and is brought up to the room.
It's quite a lovely suite actually. Mike is his usual cynical self and is sure that nothing is going to happen. We can all guess that he is very, very wrong. Things start slowly, but jumpily! Meaning, I jumped several times. This caused my dog, the only other "person" home, to abandon me for his bed upstairs. Bastard.
I have always liked John Cusack, even though gossip is that he is a jerk. But man, I thought he really rocked this film. It's basically just him, in this room, for the entire movie and he sells it, baby. Not knowing how many people have seen this, I don't really want to write too much about the actual things the room throws at our boy Mike. Suffice it to say there is some freaky/scary shit and also some emotional stuff involving Mike's daughter. One scene actually brought me to tears.
Although there are some good make you jump kind of moments, I actually would have liked more creep out factor. I think the fact that it tended to be more psychological made me ding it a half star - not because I didn't like those aspects, more that I just wanted it to maintain that spookiness I felt in the beginning. Turned out to be more suspenseful than really scary. Plus, I thought the ending was pretty lame.