Saw 1408



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  • Saw 1408

    I enjoyed the film. It's not perfect by any stretch and won't make it
    into my DVD collection, but the tension created in this film was
    Hitchcockian at times and an admirable feat in today's completely
    desensitized world. The cold open was good, ominous, but then I felt
    like it went on this sort of cliched "alcoholic writer with a dark
    past" set up for the next 10 minutes. That made it kind of slow.
    Things get really interesting when Cusack receives a postcard from the
    Dolphin Hotel (couldn't we have thought of a creepier hotel name that
    doesn't sound like a resort at SeaWorld?) that says, simply "Don't go
    into 1408."

    So Cusack, of course, does. He's warned by Samuel L. Jackson (the
    hotel manager) not to go into the room. In fact, he's bribed not to.
    But, of course, Cusack does. He's a nonbeliever and doesn't want the
    mythos to win out.

    And win the mythos does. From the time that Jackson starts speaking
    about the stories of the 56 deaths that have happened in the room
    until Cussack gets into the room, there's a genuine tension being
    built. I felt the phantom spiders a few times, which was a surprise to
    me as the only movie that has ever bothered me in my adult life is THE
    EXORCIST. I laughed through THE RING. 1408 isn't terrifying, but there
    is this genuine uncomfortable tension for the first half of the second
    act that is really something.

    As with most "supernatural thriller" or "horror" films, it goes
    downhill from there. These movies often suffer from the damnation of
    the need for rising tension which usually means "rising supernatural
    activity and special effects." Once the room really goes into crazy
    land (ie, the deep freeze you see in the TV spots), it kind of got a
    little "been there, done that." The second half of Act II is formulaic
    and somewhat predictable and loses all the tension that I thought was
    so well established in Act I/early Act II. Here's the other problem -- we never really find out all that much about the room. This lack of dramatic context does dial down the tension and dramatic stakes as the story moves forward. I don't know whether this was cut or never addressed, but it is a problem and does not get paid off in any real way. We never really know what the deal with the room is, though the room's "method" is inferred, if that makes any sense.

    Luckily, Act III makes a pretty neat recovery. The moments with
    Cusack's daughter are touching and truly heart-wrenching. The end is
    also unexpected and well-played in an all-to-frequent paint-by-numbers

    I admired the writing. It's very difficult to write a script where the
    character speaks to himself for 60+ pages (or in this case, himself
    and a tape recorder) and pull it off. The only other films that have
    done this well that come to mind are CASTAWAY and DIE HARD. I'm sure
    there are others, but this is mostly a terrible device that makes the
    viewer all-too-aware that they are watching a movie. In 1408, this
    works very well due to the sardonic nature of Mike Enslin (he has some
    great "John McClane" one-liners) and to the exellent acting of John
    Cusack. So, bravo to Matt Greenberg and Scott Alexander (and to any
    other uncredited scribes). You did an admirable job with a difficult
    task that few who have not been in the trenches will appreciate. There
    was some cheesey dialogue in the first 15-20 minutes, but after that I
    thought it tightened up overall. I really wished the interaction
    between Samuel L. and Cusack had been more interesting. That scene had real potential and only did a satisfactory job at moving the story
    forward. I thought this could have been a real set piece for the film.

    The score was awful. I never notice scores except for the very good
    (STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, JURASSIC PARK) and the very bad (1408). It was jarringly awful at times.

    The cinematography was competently done, but I couldn't help but
    feeling that some visual treatment would have added a welcome layer of
    visual atmosphere that this film was missing. It was lit and shot like
    a 1 hour TV drama and if it had been treated with a more smoky,
    sepia-toned photography, I wonder if it wouldn't have made it that
    much creepier. I'm sure most people won't care about this, but I felt
    it worth mentioning.

    This will probably do pretty well in its first weekend (I see $20-30
    million with probably $70-80 overall, maybe closer to $100). It's a
    fun time and a good place to bring a date for a good scare and then
    some analysis after the experience is over. I'd recommend it as a fun
    theater experience, but don't expect THE SIXTH SENSE, still the
    archetype for this genre.

    Go. Have fun.
    Reaction time is a factor, so please pay attention.

  • #2
    Re: Saw 1408

    I saw the subject line and thought "Wow, I knew they'd done a bunch of Saw sequels, but I had no idea there were 1,407."

    Okay, no. I didn't really think that.

    Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself.
    It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
    -- Potter Stewart


    • #3
      "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

      My YouTube channel.


      • #4
        Re: Saw 1408

        Originally posted by Han Shot First View Post
        I enjoyed the film. Go. Have fun.

        I agree the best part of this movie was the first 15 mins, especially the exchange between Jackson and Cusack in the office. But the rest is fairly mediocre and predictable. Like we didn't see the set up with the bottle of congac coming a mile a way?

        Once we're in the room, everything else was by the numbers. The best thing about the room was the scene where Cusack looks across the street and into the window of the next apartment -- but once again, it went on too long and we were able to figure out the pay-off before it was revealed. Details were derivative: crying baby noises, bleeding walls, too many repetive images of "ghosts" jumping out the window, etc.

        And what about that scene where Cusack is crawling through the air vent and that thing attacks him? What is the purpose of that scene? How is it organic to the rest of the story? And what about the lame "button" to that scene where Cusack drops back into the room and says the one-liner, "Good to be back"? A groaner.
        Twitter: @WriterLe


        • #5
          Re: Saw 1408

          Crap! From the post title I thought this was the ultimate sequel to SAW!

          - Bill
          Free Script Tips:


          • #6
            Re: Saw 1408

            You're stealing haunted's material!
            Ralphy's Fvcking Blog

            Ever notice how 'monogamy' rhymes with 'monotony'?" -- Christian Troy


            • #7
              Re: Saw 1408

              Would have made a good send up title.

              Get ready for... SAW 1408

              The last sequel before the next one.


              • #8
                Re: Saw 1408

                Wouldn't make Jason feel too good.
                "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
                -Maya Angelou


                • #9
                  Re: Saw 1408

                  Sad to hear the film is apparently mediocre at best overall as the original Stephen King short story is one of his most affective works, in my opinion. Hopefully Frank Darabont's adaptation of "The Mist" will turn out better come November.


                  • #10


                    The first premise that throws me in the plot is that anyone can write a series of best-selling books that debunk haunted houses. Houdini, perhaps; but, as with many Stephen King stories, putting the victim into an implausible situation is only the prelude to an assault by overwhelming horrors.

                    If a hotel room is smaller than a haunted mansion, remember that victim cannot be allowed to escape, by simply leaving the room. A rabid dog might keep one inside a broken-down car, and an airplane over the ocean might not be able to land, but, a protagonist who cannot exit a hotel room? And, King's ghosts have all the subtlety of a roller-coaster ride!

                    I'm skipping this one, (even when it comes out on DVD), but, there are plenty of Stephen King fans to make up for the loss of my patronage.

                    Originally posted by Signal30 View Post
                    ...back to trolling Nathaniel Hawthorne for ideas.
                    Signal, how about Kipling? The summer heat's bothering me, (not getting a good sleep), so I'm thinking about "At the End of the Passage."
                    JEKYLL & CANADA (free .mp4 download @


                    • #11
                      Re: Saw 1408

                      Originally posted by haunted View Post
                      I saw the subject line and thought "Wow, I knew they'd done a bunch of Saw sequels, but I had no idea there were 1,407."


                      Nicely done.

                      I'm looking forward to 1408.


                      • #12
                        Re: Saw 1408

                        Missed this Horror film I've seen in quite awhile.


                        • #13
                          Re: Saw 1408

                          Originally posted by Signal30 View Post
                          Oh, well... back to trolling Nathaniel Hawthorne for ideas.

                          I thought you liked zombies and stuff?

                          Read M.R. James for supernatural horror.


                          • #14
                            Re: Saw 1408

                            I'm disappointed to hear that one of the creepiest/best moments in the original short story, where Mike picks up the phone in 1408 and hears a voice on the other hand spout off, "This is ten! Ten! We have killed your friends!" is not present in the film.

                            While my hopes for the film are certainly on the low-ish side judging from the trailer, TV spots and various clips I've seen, I'm always happy to read critiques like this...

                            "A skillful visualization of King's tale, as well as a film that works independently on its own terms, it proves that cinema is every bit as capable as the written word of conveying the internal qualities—thought, emotion, etc.—for which movies as an art form are supposedly ill-equipped."

                            -- Jim Hemphill,

                            "Finally, it's an almost classical return to the kind of horror that made the genre a fixture among critics and audiences alike -- one built upon anticipation and suspense, not graphic spectacle and torturous violence. (No matter how entertaining the gorefests of folks like Eli Roth are, there will always be an entertainment value in films that are more into spooking people than making them sick.)"

                            -- Todd Gilchrist,


                            • #15
                              Re: Saw 1408

                              I just got back from seeing 1408 and I honestly can't tell you if it's a good
                              movie or not. Oh, it seemed at times like it might be good, but then there
                              was that ****ing group of junior high school kids who were talking and
                              laughing through the whole ****ing movie and screaming like ****ing
                              idiots every time there was something scary. So it's hard to say for sure if
                              it was a good movie or not.