Mike Enslin (John Cusack) ain't afraid of no ghosts. In fact, he says there's no ghosts — even though he does make his living writing about them. He travels the world, staying overnight in every so-called haunt across the U.S., Europe, and every patch of phantom-dom between. So far, no luck in meeting anyone undead… that is, until he checks into the antique Dolphin Hotel.
Based on a short story by Stephen King, 1408 takes massive liberty with the source material. In the King's tale of terror, it was pretty much just Mike and the monsters — now, the screenwriters and director have added a few characters and a driving subplot involving Mike's estrangement from his wife Lily (Mary McCormack) after the untimely death of their young daughter Katie (Jasmine Jessica Anthony).
When I saw the theatrical release, I was bit miffed by all the fluffing up — and I'm still not thrilled by heartstring tugging machinations — but it goes down better on DVD. [ Read horror.com's review of the theatrical release here ]
There's a single-disc version, as well as a 2-Disc Collector's Edition which is, of course, the one to get.
The first disc contains the theatrical release movie (PG-13, but they do seem to get away with a lot) plus a couple of short featurettes (called "webisodes"… they're not, really. I would think a webisode is something more along the lines of what Sony did on their Grudge 2 DVD — they produced some shorts which acted as compliments to the main feature.)
The first featurette, John Cusack on 1408, gives the actor two minutes to talk about his role and the second, Inside Room 1408, is a behind-the-scenes look at the hotel room set and it also runs around two minutes long.
Disc two has the unrated, extended director's cut (a little bit more blood and such, but nothing too terribly graphic), presented with optional commentary by director Mikael Håfström and screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. There are also some deleted scenes, and an alternate ending that really is what it says.
According to Håfström, test audiences did not like the more downbeat conclusion, but personally — with one minor quibble — I preferred it. In addition, this finale gives two excellent costars (Samuel L. Jackson and Tony Shaloub) more screen-time and some closure to the their characters (in the theatrical version, they pretty much just disappear).
- John Cusack on 1408 webisode
- Inside Room 1408 webisode
- Theatrical trailer
- Deleted Scenes
- Contacting Lily
- Wrought With Guilt
- I Warned You About 1408
- Tilting Room & Lily Pleads At Door
- Arriving At The Dolphin
- The Secrets of 1408 - A Behind-the-Scenes Look
- Physical Effects
- Production Design
= = =
Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson