I'm happy. With the likes of "Zodiac", "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon", "The Host", "Mr. Brooks", "28 Weeks Later", "Vacancy", "Hostel: Part II", "Bug", "Disturbia", "Severance", and "Grindhouse", 2007 is shaping up to be a stellar year for fright flicks of all shapes and sizes (we can forget that "The Hills Have Eyes II"," The Hitcher", and "Dead Silence" happened, right?).The latest is "1408", based on the short story by horror master Stephen King, and I'm pleased to say that this one packs a real punch. It is, by turns, scary, disturbing, funny, and moving (at times, within the same scene). The plot details are best to be left unsaid, although the trailer did a great job of mapping it all out.
"Thrills and chills galore."
John Cusack ("Say Anything..."), though he has been working steadily for years, is one of our most underrated actors. No matter WHO he playing, even a cynical jerk like Mike Enslin, he gives the role unaccountable layers and depth of feeling, without ever losing the specificity of his characterization. This has to be one of his best performances. For a large chunk of the film, it is a one-man show, and he pulls it off without even seeming to try. A tour de force, methinks.
Credit must also be given to Samuel L. Jackson ("Pulp Fiction"), who does SO much with two or three scenes. He practically is the build-up to the payoff.
Not gonna give anything away, but there are scenes in here (a lot, actually) that have the potential to become genre classics. So many spine-tingling moments (the air shaft and the window across the street being two highlights). There comes a point in the third act where it seems that special effects and strange twists will overpower the story, BUT (once again) the movie pulls the rug from under us. There is also a sadness and thoughtfulness in the latter part of the movie, which I didn't expect, that makes the experience complete and more fulfilling.
And NEVER have The Carpenter's seemed so sinister.If you want to enjoy a really spooky movie without all the gore and chopped testicles of late, check it out.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16181&reviewer=394
originally posted: 06/27/07 03:50:17