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1408 NOT A GREAT LOVER OF MODERN HORROR FILMS, I found that the psychological thriller 1408 pulled me in with its marketing and trailers. As it turned out, I was not to be disappointed.

I have never been able to see the appeal of too much blood, gore and gratuitous violence, but although 1408 — a spine-tingler from the pen of horror legend Stephen King — throws up some pretty unpleasant stuff, it thrives nicely on what you don't see.

Author and investigator of the paranormal, Mike Enslin (BAFTA-nominated John Cusack: High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich) is a self-confessed sceptic. His investigations prove to him that the owners of the haunted hotels he visits are simply dreaming up the ghostly happenings for publicity and therefore he believes that there is no such thing as the supernatural.

Mike was clearly once a gifted writer with a successful horror novel behind him. But things have gone tragically wrong and he has lost his edge, turning his hand to writing about haunted hotels. He receives a postcard telling him of room 1408 at The Dolphin Hotel in New York
and he books into it, despite the repeated warnings of hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson: Pulp Fiction) both before and during his visit.

Deciding to put his personal belief about the existence of the super-natural to the test by taking on a new project — room 1408, where, says Olin, "in 95 years of the hotel's existence there have been 56 deaths" — Mike soon realises that there is such a thing as life after death. 1408, warns Olin, "it's an evil room."

Ignoring all attempts to dissuade him, Enslin prepares to spend the night in the notorious room 1408 — a decision that will have terrifying consequences from which there is no escape.

Tension and mystery override the sinister room from the moment he closes the door — "This is it?" scoffs Enslin. "You have to be kidding!" — creating a non-stop cycle of fear. The normally bland environment
of a hotel room becomes a psychological torture chamber in a meta-physical mind-bending experience of claustrophobic terror. Clearly it is haunted by some sort of spirit but it also uses the troubles you bring
in yourself from the past.

The stellar performances from Cusack and Jackson throughout this sterling thriller grip the audience from start to finish and ultimately prove that you don't have to see something to know that it exists.

Menace comes from the room itself, with the spooky events seemingly incidental. It is creepily filmed and runs a whole gamut of emotions from despair to paranoia, throwing up a lot of stuff for Enslin to digest. Cusack himself says: "Stephen King, he's a master of storytelling — he knows how to scare people intensely." And he adds: "He's definitely channelling some spirits and demons."

1408 is the remarkable Swedish Director Mikael Hafströn's second film
in English. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explains the movie as
"…an examination of a man going inside his head." A lot of things Enslin experiences could be from his worst nightmares.

* The thought-provoking film 1408 from Paramount Home Entertain-ment is brought brilliantly to this Director's Cut DVD and is to be released on 26 December 2007.

Discs: 1 | RRP £19.99 | Cert 15 | Dolby Digital Surround Sound | Running Time: 94 minutes

Special Features: 1408 Director's Cut Edition

Secrets of 1408: The Characters — 8:00 | Secrets of 1408: The Director — 5:13 | Secrets of 1408: The Physical Effects — 4:15 |
Secrets of 1408: The Production Design — 5:20 | Secrets of
1408: Deleted Scenes — 11:52.