'You Win You Win'
Based on a Stephen King short story that bears the same name, “1408” is a psychological thriller set in a hotel in New York City. Liked by critics and respected by fans of old-school horror, “1408” was successful upon its release in 2007. Mikael Håfström, a Swedish writer and director known for “Evil” and “Kopps,” directed the film.
Mike Enslin, a jaded author who investigates supernatural and paranormal events, receives a mysterious postcard after the release of his latest book. The card, which depicts the Dolphin Hotel in New York City, arrives anonymously and warns him not to enter room number 1408. Intrigued, Mike heads to the hotel and requests to stay in the forbidden room. The hotel’s manager, Gerald Olin, strongly warns against it. His curiosity adequately piqued, Mike insists that the hotel make the room available to him. The manager reluctantly agrees, and Mike settles in for a night in 1408.
At first, Mike fails to believe there is anything strange about the room. Even the clock radio, which turns itself on and plays “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters, doesn’t faze him. However, when the time display suddenly changes to that of a 60-minute countdown, Mike soon realizes his fatal mistake.
As the time ticks down, Mike is confronted by strange hallucinations and terrifying events. He finds himself trapped inside the room and unable to escape. Despite his best efforts, Mike Enslin is forced to endure an emotional and torturous hour of horror. The weight of the experience threatens to destroy him like the other 56 hotel guests who died within the walls of room number 1408.
The film is based on a short story written by Stephen King. It originally appeared in his 1999 audiobook entitled “Blood and Smoke.” In 2002, the tale resurfaced again in King’s “Everything’s Eventual.” Dimension Films picked up the story and hired Matt Greenberg to write the screenplay.
“1408” was shot in New York, California and England. Exterior shots of the fictional Dolphin Hotel were filmed outside of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Interior lobby scenes were filmed at the Reform Club in London.
Overall, “1408” was a successful film. It grossed over 20.6 million in its opening weekend in 2007. Its domestic lifetime gross was just under 72 million dollars. In the foreign market, “1408” made over 60 million. Its combined total lifetime gross was just under 132 million dollars.
The film did best in the North American market. Both the United States and Canada made up most of its total profit. In the foreign market, the film broke over 5 million in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and Germany. Because of its high-grossing domestic and international sales, it is clear that “1408” exceeded expectations and pleased avid fans of classic horror.
Critics and moviegoers enjoyed “1408” upon its release in 2007. It opened to mostly positive reviews that praised its ability to create genuine scares and thrills without the overuse of blood and gore. Because of the film’s lack of violence, “1408” was released with a PG-13 rating.
“1408” managed to score a 77 percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The website’s users gave it a rating of 84 out of 100. On Metacritic, the film received a score of 64 favorable reviews.
Reviewers and critics appreciated the film’s return to real psychological terror without the gruesome imagery prevalent in films of this genre. Others hailed it as being one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date. John Cusack also received great praise for his powerful portrayal of Mike Enslin.
James Berardinelli of ReelViews compared “1408” to “Hostel: Part II” and said it was more sophisticated and mature than other films in this genre. Desson Thomson, former film critic at the Washington Post, expressed the same sentiment and called the film “truly scary.” Robert Wilonsky of the Village Voice praised John Cusack and stressed that “1408” would not have worked without his strong performance.
- Pete Hammond, MAXIM
Ranks with "The Shining" as one of the best Stephen King adaptions ever