1408 Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
For those looking for a get-away where the best surprise is a ghostly experience, Mike Enslin (John Cusack) writes the book of their nightmares. His guides to the nation’s best-haunted hotels have innkeepers anxiously inviting him for a night in their establishments, with the hope he will have a paranormal experience during his visit and drum them up some business.
Truth is, the author’s works are far more fiction than fact, so when an anonymous postcard arrives bearing an image of New York’s Dolphin Hotel and the simple message, “Don’t stay in 1408,” Mike can’t resist checking in to check it out. Arriving at the aging building, he’s met by the manager (Samuel L. Jackson), who lays the scare tactics on thicker than usual. Bribing him with booze and penthouse upgrades, he begs Mike to lodge in a different suite. Undaunted, the cocky writer heads upstairs to the floor above 12, and into the room that adds up to a notoriously unlucky prime number.
To detail what happens after the door closes behind him would border on spoiling what is above average scare fare, especially when compared to the teen thrillers dominating today’s movie market. However, it is safe to say the film is made with enough skill to be too intense for children and many teens. It may even frighten those who consider themselves somewhat desensitized—like jaded movie reviewers.
While adolescents are the most willing demographic to throw themselves at this genre, the audience most likely to get the biggest boos for their buck might be adults. As the room begins to demolish itself with all the usual horror movie trappings (walls oozing blood, floors up heaving, radios and televisions suddenly coming to life), we learn more about Mike’s past and the grown-up fears that are literally haunting him. Cleverly, the script uses his sense of regret and agnosticism to bring him into a hell of his own making, symbolically represented by the space in which he’s confined.
The film doesn’t rely heavily on gore, although many images of past 1408 guests are seen in black and white photographs. These former patrons all died through various means, and their blood spattered faces populate the file folder handed to Mike in an attempt to dissuade his investigation. Many other scenes feature extreme situations of fright, such as depictions of ghosts committing suicide (two by jumping from a window and another by hanging). Other concerns are infrequent profanities (including a sexual expletive), as well as cigarette smoking and drinking.
I confess, I’m not the type to go seeking a good scare in a dark theater. Still, I do appreciate the craftsmanship required to achieve a plot that leaves people unsettled, not so much by what they see on the screen but what they feel in their minds. Built on the foundation of a Stephen King short story, 1408 also offers an unexpected positive message about life after death (albeit under the rule of what appears to be an angry God)... but only after you’ve ridden a very convincing thrill ride.Starring John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Stephen King. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release June 21, 2007. Updated February 17, 2010
Rating & Content Info
Why is 1408 rated PG-13? 1408 is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language.
This thriller isn’t appropriate for children, and even teens may be disturbed by the film’s images. Although explicit violence is somewhat limited, the movie does contain depictions of suicides by jumping and hanging, and depictions of a cut hand. The portrayal of paranormal activities (such as objects moving and floors and walls caving in) and many jump scenes are intended to terrify. A deliberately started fire puts the lives of others at risk. Themes regarding life after death, the existence of God, and supernatural phenomenon are discussed. Infrequent profanities are heard, including one use of a sexual expletive. Sexual content is limited to very brief shots of a woman in a bikini and a topless female in a classical painting, as well as a man who checks out some adult video titles, but chooses not to watch them. Two characters are shown smoking, and alcohol used to the point of inebriation.
Page last updated February 17, 2010
More parents' guide for 1408 after the break...
1408 Parents' Guide
How does the writer of this movie manipulate mundane things and common phobias (such as a radio suddenly turning on or a fear of heights) to create physiological suspense? What little fears do you have that, if exaggerated, could become intensely frightening?
The most recent home video release of 1408 movie is October 1, 2007. Here are some details…
1408 releases to DVD on October 1, 2007.
Related home video titles:
This movie is based on a story by horror writer Stephen King. The famous author also penned a non-horror script for the movie Hearts In Atlantis. Another master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, locks his movie character in a room, where he thinks he has witnessed a murder, in the classic Rear Window. Although a completely different genre, the comedy Groundhog Day also toys with repeating time cycles introduced by a radio playing.