O captain, be my captain I'll follow you to the ends of the earth Where the clouds are swallowed up by the sea I have never felt so alive Come to the deck and dance with me Give me a spin as we chase a wayward breeze The ocean is on fire Always burning but never being destroyed We promise we will never stop searching At night I melt into the ocean I am only half what I claim to be For I can never be tamed or conquered I can only be used or borrowed And I will never die O captain, be my captain Share with me your passionate spirit And you may have a love affair with the sea
When I first saw a preview for 1408 several months ago, I was just confused. John Cusack in a horror film? I turned to my boyfriend in the theater and asked if he had just seen the same trailer I had. I supposed he and Stephen King knew each other after their work together on Stand By Me in 1986, but still. This was an entirely different thing. This was a completely new direction for the man known to so many as Lloyd Dobler. It was so interesting that I just had to see it for myself.
The movie was based on a short story of the same name, published in 2002 among thirteen other tales in the anthology Everything’s Eventual. Though I hadn’t read it, Stephen King movies always make me a little nervous. Obviously, there have been several gems, such as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Brian De Palma’s Carrie, but more often than not, it feels like King’s stories are more effective on paper than they are on the big screen. 1408 is one of the exceptions. Beautiful visually, it made me wonder how it ever sufficed as only words.
The plot is interesting in that far-fetched way that King has so brilliantly mastered over the years. Mike Enslin, an occult writer who doesn’t really believe in ghosts, stays in hotel rooms for a living and rates them on their creepiness. You guess what comes next. Of course he ends up face to face with the real thing, finding himself over his head in a paranormal world he never believed existed. The interesting thing is what he actually finds himself up against. Rather than ghosts or ghouls, the antagonist in Mike Enslin’s story is actually the room itself. From the very beginning, room 1408 seems to be a sentient being; a personification of evil. John Cusack excels a difficult task; that is, acting opposite to an inanimate object. He is alone in the hotel room for large portions of the movie but still manages to react in honest, believable ways, despite the difficulties of being alone in front of a camera.
Don’t forget, 1408 is a scary movie and it’s effective at what it does. The cinematography is gorgeously creepy throughout. Despite a few cheesy shots, the special effects are an overall enhancement and don’t make it feel less real, like much of the CGI in Hollywood nowadays. Though subtle, sound is an important part of the film’s atmosphere, and the suspense created by Gabriel Yared’s musical score is only equaled by a few stretches of very well placed silence. Over the years, the “thirteenth floor” sector of the superstition genre has almost become a species of its own. (Remember, thought 1408 may be the number of a fourteenth floor room, hotels skip the thirteenth floor when they number!) This is a psychological thriller through and through. As Mike Enslin tries to sort out reality from illusions, the audience is left sifting through the leftovers and trying to decide for themselves.
Be ready for a roller coaster of twists, turns and false endings, some predictable and some surprising. Expect a few horror movie clichés but also look forward to a few genuinely interesting oddities. John Cusack has tried something new but Stephen King is up to his old tricks. This is not another gore-filled serial killer story in the style of Texas Chainsaw Massacre; 1408 is the twisted story of evil, insanity and the strength of the human will to live.
1 - Tell you why I friended you. 2 - Associate you with a song/film. 3 - Tell a random fact about you. 4 - Tell a first memory about you. 5 - Associate you with a character/pairing. 6 - Ask something I've always wanted to know about you. 7 - Tell you my favorite user pic of yours [if it pertains]. 8 - In return, you must spread this meme in your LJ [or blog].
I've felt weird lately. Not so much stressed out as just kind of apathetic. Not looking forward to things, really. It's not that things have been particularly bad, I just haven't been looking forward to them. It makes things kind of dismal.