1408 (2007) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Horror / Thriller
Weinstein Company || Unrated - 112 minutes - $29.95 || September 16, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-09-07


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director:
Writer(s): Stephen King (short story); Matt Greenberg and Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (screenplay)
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub


Theatrical Release Date: June 22, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • The Secrets of "1408"
  • Alternate Endings
  • Deleted Scenes
  • John Cusack on "1408"
  • Inside Room 1408
  • Theatrical Trailer




Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Please note - this Blu-ray release is the Directors Cut edition running 112 minutes. The cover art makes no mention of this but I wanted to make sure readers were aware of this. The import German Blu-ray (and HD DVD) edition is the Theatrical cut.

I don't recall this film ever arriving in theaters but being a John Cusack fan I was very interested in seeing this film and eventually purchased a German import of the HD DVD version and it sat on my shelves for months - until this Blu-ray version arrived. I never had enough time to actually watch the film, but after now watching it, I am very disappointed I never gave this film a watch sooner especially since Iíve owned it now for several months now.

You ever wonder why some hotels and large office towers never have a 13th floor? Superstition. 13 is an unlucky number therefore they avoid having a 13th floor (though technically the 14th floor would actually be the 13th floor). Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is "fictional" writer -- and by fictional I mean he writes books about the scariest haunted hotels in America or scariest haunted cemeteries -- and while he is not very well known, he still enjoys decent sales. One day, after a poorly visited book signing, Mike sits down at a local cafe where he goes through all his mail. Flipping through the numerous advertisements for local 'haunted' places he stumbles upon a postcard for the Dolphin hotel in New York and written on the back says "Don't enter 1408". After adding up the numbers (13) Mike, being very intrigued, quickly makes a phone call and after his publisher's lawyer intervenes he is able to book a night in the mysterious room.

After arriving at the Dolphin hotel he is first met with a bit of frustration. The clerk asks for a manager and we finally meet the other "star" of the film Mr. Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson). After taking Mike into his office Mr. Olin continually offers to move Mike to a sweet in the hotel and any accommodation as long as he does not stay in 1408. After digging a bit deeper Mike finds out there have been over 50 deaths in the room and eventually Mr. Olin gives in to the pressure and allows him to stay - after giving him a pretty thorough history lesson about the room. Once Mike is in the room he slowly starts to understand why all those other people died and then begins his journey.

Once I started watching the film I was instantly hooked. I love the way Cusack portray the troubled writer and how insistent he was to stay in the "haunted" hotel room - even after we find out he does not believe in ghosts himself. Even though he offered to stay in room 1404 - which is identical to 1408 - he still insists on the staying in the supposed haunted room possibly to see if he can prove himself right (or maybe wrong). Cusack gives an amazing performance, probably his best since Serendipity or High Fidelity.

Besides Cusack there are very few other "stars" of the film. Samuel L. Jackson plays an important part as the hotel manager, but he is only in the movie for roughly six minutes so don't expect to see him very much. He still gives a great performance as the creepy hotel manager (and while it is never truly revealed, I believe he is the one who sent Mike the invitation to stay in the room). The only other person in the film is Lily (Mary McCormack) and she too only seems to be in there for a few minutes.

There is a lot to love about 1408, but I do feel the last act of the film took a bit too long to play out. The Directors Cut runs 112 minutes long but could have easily been trimmed down to 100 minutes or less and still maintained a great story. The one thing I do want to do is check out my Theatrical version of the film to see what was different. Many have claimed it is superior, and if so, that could potentially raise my view of the film.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Mikael HŚfstrŲm and screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski - Talk, talk, talk! These guys rarely ever stop talking so if you are looking for an informative track - listen to this!

Two Alternate Endings (~11 Minutes) - I was not too impressed with the "real" alternate ending, but I do like the Theatrical one (this release of 1408 is actually the Directors Cut, so one of the "Alternate" endings is actually the real Theatrical one).

Deleted Scenes (~11 Minutes) - A collection of five deleted scenes all of which add very little to films already bloated run time.

The Secrets of 1408 (~23 Minutes) - This is essentially a "Making Of" that is split into four different special features (The Characters, The Director, The Physical Effects and The Production Design). Overall I was very happy with all of these features.

Also included are two short Webisodes and a theatrical trailer.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

1408 is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 (VC1) on a 50GB disc. For one of Weinsteinís first releases on Blu-ray they did a superb job. Colors look very rich and vibrant and blacks are very black. I did notice a few small specks a few times, but overall itís an excellent transfer (on par with the import HD DVD/Blu-ray releases).

Genius/Weinstein Company has included an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track as well as a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Just like with the Picture Quality the sound was great. There are several show case scenes including the part where the room fills in with water or the creepy music playing throughout the film (and Karen Carpenter sounds amazing in lossless).



.::OVERALL::.

1408 seemed to get ignored at the box office which is an unfortunate thing - itís a great film with an amazing performance by Cusack. Weinstein comes back to the HD world with an amazing release and manages to not only include all the previous DVD features, but packs amazing picture and audio quality.