I've said before that I love just about everything with John Cusack in it. He just can't seem to make a bad movie. Either that or he's just very careful with his choices of projects. 1408, for one of those 'Oooh the room is haunted!' stories was excellent and this is no different. It's smart, complex, scary and most of all, an original idea well executed. In other words, not a movie I usually pick apart.
And I'm not picking this apart either. Actually if I tried, there would be little to mess with because the cinematography, acting and story progression were just wonderful. Our story begins with a dark and stormy night. And rainy. It rains continually in this film which just seems to add to the creepiness of it. There are excellent performances from Amanda Peet, Ray Liotta and of course anything Jake Busey does is just plain fun to watch. If you haven't seen this film, I definitely recommend giving it a peek.
Through a series of intertwining circumstances all these people are stuck for the night in a run down motel due to the rain washing out the road on both sides. All are given a room with a number. It's those numbers that doom the temporary residents of this fleabag motel. If this sounds a bit like Agatha Christie, it's supposed to - it was inspired by And Then There Were None - a fact that is mentioned by one of the characters during the movie.
Meanwhile a convicted murderer, hours away from execution is given a last minute conference with the judge and court officials due to documents that were misfiled (typical). His name is Malcolm Rivers, a bald, cross eyed individual who viciously killed people in a motel. The argument brought forth by his psychiatrist is that he is completely unaware of what he did because the murders were actually done by one of his personalities. They hope to make those personalities confront each other and hopefully Malcolm will then be able to sort out who he really is. I don't know if I personally believe completely in the dissociative identity disorder idea or not, but for the movie it works well.
Back to the motel: We have a mess of a mystery, with bodies appearing and disappearing, and all those present are not completely who they seem. Each has a secret of their own that is eventually revealed throughout the movie. I don't want to give everything away but if you haven't guessed by now, the whole motel mess is actually all the personalities in Malcom's mind fighting each other and the outcome - well the outcome causes the judge to stay the execution and instead send Malcom to a psychiatric facility.
But on the way to the facility... ah, there's a twist I could get into since they left a bit of a hole in the plot which gets nicely filled in at this point. Like I said, give it a look - after watching dumb kids get wasted (both figuratively and literally) it's nice to watch something that requires a brain to follow.
Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away