To continue this week’s discussion, I picked a movie that viewers either love or hate, 1408. There is no middle ground. People either give it one or seven to eight stars, and here’s why:
Many reviewers complain it’s not scary enough; the story drags; too many jump scares; not enough blood and guts; it’s not The Shining (of course not because it’s not); and the complaints go on…
1408 (2007) starring John Cusack and is based on a Stephen King short story. As many of you know, Hollywood doesn’t always do a great job with King’s stories. Many B- and C-list actors star in them, so the acting is pretty awful sometimes, and the special effects are often cheesy and cheap.
The movie 1408 is different. Although it only scores a metascore of 68/100 and 78% (audience 61%) on Rotten Tomatoes, don’t let that deter you. This is a great horror movie, and yes, it is a horror movie. It classifies as psychological horror and tries to do more than scare the audience.
Why is it underrated?
Those who did not like this movie didn’t get it, or it was simply not their thing. It’s a psychological thriller, which means the scares come from and warp the mind. Demonic creatures do not climb on ceilings and serial killers do not stalk teenagers. The movie, and the room specifically, uses our darkest moments and personal demons against us.
The best things:
I am a little bias because of three things: Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub, and Stephen King. I love all three of these gentlemen for various reasons, so any project that includes all of them automatically wins brownie points. Jackson has a classic line and delivers it only like he can, “It’s an evil $%&*ing room.” Shalhoub plays a slimeball agent who gets Cusack into the room despite all odds. I can’t help but love Shalhoub in those roles. Then there’s King – one of my favorite writers.
Secondly, the story is refreshing and different. In 2007, we had a decent variety of horror movies premiere including 30 Days of Night and lots of sequels like Hostel Part II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2, and the epic Paranormal Activity. Aside from PA, most movies have been done before or rely on the predecessor’s success. This is where 1408 was different. It was a haunted hotel room that took Cusack’s nightmares and turned them into reality. Imagine being locked in a room with the things that haunt you the most. This is that movie. It forces you to imagine yourself in that situation and makes you think.
Reviewers also complain it’s another King movie about a writer. Guess what? King is a writer, and he expresses himself in his stories! King finds hotel rooms creepy, and puts his own fears and discomforts into the story. In fact, there are direct lines from the short story in the movie. And that is why he is the master he is. Any writer who truly pours their heart and fears into something writes more than just words on a page. They write a masterpiece.
What horror movies do you find underrated? Share them in the comments below!