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Written by: Matt

When you watch horror movies, there's always a lot of discomfort which comes from watching it. It's an acquired taste, but for those who do watch and like horror films, they are often disappointed with the end results. Producers concentrate more on cheap scare tactics than psychologically frightening you and this just means we get a load of copycat thrillers.

When I heard about 1408, cinema's latest attempts to make us wet ourselves, I was excited. 1408 was adapted from a Stephen King short story, following on from classics such as The Green Mile, Carrie and Misery. These tend to distance themselves from typical horror fodder and really get into your mind and play on your fears. These high hopes dragged me and a couple of friends into the cinema and had my stomach churning before the very start.

The story follows Mike Enslin (John Cusack, perhaps this movie's saving grace) through the challenging of his disbelief. After losing his daughter, he sought to disprove the existence of the afterlife by forcing his skepticism on everyone else. Until something evil decides to stop him...

This evil thing is room 1408, whose physical embodiment is played by Samuel L. Jackson. As you can tell, the plot doesn't really stand up to scrutiny, which was distorted to make this into a more entertaining movie.

What it becomes, however, is some sort of container to put in generic horror techniques. As the movie goes on, the mirrors are used to good, if a little repetitive effect, by foretelling the arrival of distorted axeman, accompanied with a loud chord against the quiet backing music to make the audience jump. However, this relies on this cheap trick too many times--it never really gives us something to look out for, besides this evil, nasty room just trying to make this guy commit suicide.

The film's plot is, to put it simply, weak. This wouldn't have been exposed so badly if it weren't for their philosophical ending which makes us challenge it. Samuel L. Jackson was wasted, by simply being there to possess a fridge, as the movie could function just as well without him. John Cusack was brilliant in this complex role, but was spoilt by the film's constant turmoil, which never allowed us to see reactions beyond fear and sorrow.

This sums up much of my opinion: A wasted opportunity. Stephen King is an excellent writer, and many of his works become excellent films and yet this one just lacked in some areas. By providing a believable villain and giving us a reason to empathise with the hot-headed Enslin, perhaps the audience would have been more invested and terrified by the movie, as it was, just another forgettable horror movie.

Matt is secretly a creature from a silent monster movie from the 1920's. We are still trying to ascertain which.

Pudding does not like scary movies, unless they have properly scary soundtracks.


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