Thursday, November 01, 2007


--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Enslin is a writer of books about hauntings. He travels the countryside, spending the night in haunted places and then reviewing them afterwards. When a postcard appears that tells him not to go into room 1408 of the Dolphin hotel, he immediately makes plans to spend the night there. He is warned multiple times by the manager not to do so, yet he ends up in the room. He doesn't actually believe in ghosts, but the events in this room quickly change his mind.

Scariness factor: The first 45 minutes were WONDERFULLY scary, mostly because they were very subtle. The second half was moreso overwhelming than it was scary, though it had some weird mind-fuck type moments.

Gross-Out Factor: Pretty much non-existent if I remember correctly. Mostly just old-school hauntings.

Complaints: The second half of this movie. I couldn't quite decide whether I liked it or really vehemently disliked it. It was a bit overwhelming, but I really enjoyed that at points. I *definitely*, however, did not like the last 10 minutes or so of the movie. Shmaltzy.

High Points: I must admit, I hate John Cusack. I know that, as an American, apparently I am supposed to love the man and everything he's ever been in. But I don't. I think he needs to get a new hairstyle already, seeing as he's had that same shapeless mop since Say Anything. And I rarely watch anything with him in it, just because I can't stand to stare at him for extended periods of time. Needless to say, I wasn't really looking forward to this movie all that match. All that being said, he actually wasn't bad in it. And the movie actually was a lot better than I'd expected. The first 30-45 minutes were really goddamn good, in my opinion. They were spooky as shit, mostly because they were also subtle as shit. To me, subtlety is a lot scarier than over the top special fx. So small moments like him turning around to find mints suddenly on his bed pillow CREEPED ME THE HELL OUT. There's also a scene in it where he climbs out on a ledge 14-stories above NYC, and THAT I was seriously holding my breath during--I have a fear of heights, and I've never had such a visceral reaction to a height-related movie scene as I did during that one. However, after that scene, the subtleties vanished, and it was full-out Crazy Room activity. At that point, the movie started to not be as impressive to me, though I really DID love the scene in the post-office later--I'd say more, but it'd give things away too much. THAT I thought was wonderfully done, and weirdly psychologically disturbing. Samuel L. Jackson is also bad ass (but subtle for once) in it as well--and much hotter than his normal bad-ass hot self. So despite the fact that he's not in it for too long, that's also definitely a plus.

Overall: I think this film is worth watching for the first 45 minutes or so. The second half has its moments, some of them wonderful, some of them just ho-hum. So don't expect much there. But the first half--fun fun fun.

Grade: B



At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this movie. It has been a while since I enjoyed a classic haunting movie and this satiated my craving for sure.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger alesha said...

I just saw this last week. I thought it was good, but had a different idea about what what going to happen. Previews can be misleading. I *used* to be a big fan of John Cusack (back when he was holding a boom box for Ione Skye and playing that Peter Gabriel sing that I absolutely love)but now not so much. My fave scene was the ledge. I was holding my breath the entire time. A bit of a disappointment though. I've been waiting patiently for a REALLY good creepy ghost movie to come out and this wasn't it. The wait continues...

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with this review (of the movie not the actor lol) full-heartedly. The first half of the movie kept me on the edge of my seat, but as the writer wore down so did the movie and so did I.
I was waiting for a good, terrifying ending. It didn't come. I couldn't tell if i was happy for the change where it wasn't left open or if I was disappointed because it ended too neatly.

At 1:01 AM, Blogger Kaukab Basheer said...

I agree. The first half hour or so played out well and kept me hooked. I lost interest after that. And the ending was disappointing.
Have you watched "Identity" (2003)? Not sure if you've already reviewed it here. Would like to know what you think of it.
Oh and I don't like Cusack either.


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