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1408 (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=117637&d=1219534903
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

84






Studio and Year: Weinstein Company - 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 112 Minutes
Genre: Thriller/Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub, Mary McCormack
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Music by: Gabriel Yared
Written by: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski based on the short story by Stephen King
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 16, 2008







"No one lasts more than an hour"



Film Synopsis:

Based on a short story by suspense master Stephen King, 1408 stars John Cusack as a skeptical writer investigating paranormal events. When he insists on staying in the reportedly haunted room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel against the grave warnings of the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson), he discovers the room's deadly secret - an evil so powerful, no one has ever survived an hour within its walls.



My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=117956&d=1219862307

I saw 1408 when in the theater when it was released in during the summer of 2007. Being both a John Cusack and Sam Jackson fan made this an easy sell for me. I thought that it was okay and I liked the concept of this inexplicable evil inherent in this one room in the hotel. I didn’t have a strong enough reaction to it that I wanted to pick up the DVD but when I heard of its release on Blu-ray my interest in it was aroused. After this re-visit I felt that I enjoyed it more this time. John Cusack’s character Mike, seemed more sympathetic and I got more out of his performance here than from my first viewing. I suspect that part of the reason is that with film’s like this you find yourself focusing more on what is about to happen rather than what is happening at the moment. The second time through that anticipation is removed and you end up seeing things you may not have noticed before. I saw Mike as a person filled with varying emotions that surrounded the premature death of his daughter Katie. He also had repressed feelings about his relationship with his father. Lastly, he left his wife abruptly after Katie’s death without ever discussing his reasons with her. I think that these issues weighed on him and he never had any real emotional closure with any of them. He is not a spiritual person and does not believe in such things. His ex-wife on the other hand did and passed that on to her daughter which he resented. When she died he felt that part of the reason was because she wasn’t afraid of the finality of death because of her mother’s religious beliefs. His constant quest to disprove the existence of spirits and haunted houses is tied into the loss he experienced. The most powerful scene in the film is where he returns to the room and encounters the vision/spirit of his daughter Katie. I thought that Cusack poured it all out and did a convincing job in that scene. Having kids is not a prerequisite to appreciating how someone might feel under those circumstances but it offers a deeper perspective. He spends the bulk of the film by himself reacting to the elements provided by the room and he pulls it off quite well. His experiences in the room cause him to come face to face with several internal issues. This does help him to open up once he gets “out”. The room was just too cool in its slow build up and eventual physical and emotional torment of its victims. There are a few really decent jump scares and impressive effects that truly enhanced the film’s horror theme.

The ending shown in theaters is not the one contained on this Director’s cut although there are two alternate endings (one of which is the theatrical ending) included in the bonus features. I wasn’t crazy about this one but it is very different from the theatrical version. The ending is not critical to the enjoyment of the movie. As you know I am a ‘feel good’ movie guy even with film’s like this. Having said that I think that for me the theatrical ending best represents what I would have liked to have happened to Mike in the end. However I did appreciate alternate ending # 2 as well. I don’t want to expound too much on any of them but will leave the ending up to a matter of viewer preference.






Parental Guide:

This film contains thematic material, including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language. Not for younger viewers.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 82


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692
attachment.php?attachmentid=117957&d=1219862307

1408 comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.

This video presentation was quite good and consistent with what I saw when I saw it theatrically. The film intentionally uses a limited color palette that gives it a reserved look that kept pace with the director’s vision based upon the different settings featured in the story. Green (like a bluish green) is used quite a bit and can be seen in the lobby of the Dolphin Hotel, the post office, book store and restaurant where Mike has breakfast. There is filtering applied that adds a golden hue over scenes like those shot in the lobby, Mike’s apartment, Olin’s office and to a lesser degree in room 1408. This did affect the appearance of colors and skin tones in those scenes as they had a de-saturated and flatter quality. There are several sequences that are shot outdoors that don’t use the filtering and exhibit deeper color penetration with warmer tones and livelier complexions. Some examples would be the sequences at the beach, outside the Dolphin Hotel the night Mike arrives, and outside of Mike’s apartment. The nighttime shots outside of the Hotel and the street below the window of room 1408 exhibited solid depth of field and visible detail in shadows and dark areas. Blacks were noise free with good dynamic range and contrast. Images were cleanly rendered with good visible detail on the surfaces of objects, clothing and physical characteristics of the cast. When Mike returns to room 1408 I was able to clearly make out the texture of the charred remains on the surfaces of the walls and cabinetry within the room. The wide angle shot of the exterior brick wall of the hotel when Mike is outside of the window on the ledge were clearly defined with solid structure. Grain was intact, in fine layers and appeared well preserved.

*Amendment* During my initial viewing I failed to notice the presence of jaggie type artifacts (aliasing) around text and objects that have straight/diagonal lines. While it doesn't directly effect resolution its effects are visibly distracting. This has been relfected in the video rating score.*

I am happy to see TWC supplying lossless audio on their Blu-ray disc releases. The lossy Dolby Digital track was set as the default which meant having to access the audio setup to select the high resolution TrueHD track. This is a well designed audio mix that plays well to the film’s thematic events. It uses the surround channels to elicit reaction to sounds coming from differing vantage points based on the camera’s view (meaning the subject onscreen) which works really well. Jump scares were exacerbated by the clear articulation and well placed spatial cues contained in the soundtrack. Active sequences such as the splitting and crashing of the walls and ceiling during the height of the room’s onslaught sounded dynamic and forceful. Low frequency effects provided bass that was substantial and on occasion room shaking. There were instances where I felt that deeper bass emphasis would have been appropriate and others where I was surprised that it was used. Voices were clear and maintained a stable presence within the front channel balance so that no matter how busy the scene dialogue was intelligible. This sound mix capably handled the complex sound design associated with this soundtrack which helped build the suspense and frightening moments that add to the experience.



Bonus Features:



The bonus supplements are essentially the same ones contained on the 2 disc Collector’s Edition DVD release from last year. There are some additional features offered though. There is an audio commentary track with Director Mikael Hafstrom and Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, 5 short segments that look at the film’s characters (Cusack and Jackson), background on the Director, effects, and production design elements. There are several 2 minute webisode features that give a brief glimpse and overview of the film, deleted scenes, alternate endings and the theatrical trailer. The bonus content is offered in high definition although looking at the video quality would lead one to believe it was standard definition only. The best features are the Secrets of 1408 and inclusion of the two alternate endings.




  • Feature audio commentary track

  • (HD)2 Alternate ending sequences

  • (HD) 5 Deleted scenes with optional commentary

  • (HD) The secrets of 1408: The characters, Director, Physical effects, and Production design

  • (HD) John Cusack on 1408: Webisode – The star of the story

  • (HD)Inside room 1408: A Webisode – A glimpse of the horror

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer
attachment.php?attachmentid=117955&d=1219862307



Final Thoughts:



1408 is a solid thriller that delivers enough twists and turns to make it interesting. John Cusack is tasked with carrying a large portion of the film on his own and I think he did a commendable job. I found this film to be better after watching it a second time. For those that have seen it once and may not have been impressed you may want to consider giving it another spin. What better way than this excellent high definition audio/video transfer on Blu-ray Disc?







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 23
Ralph,

By chance do you know if the BD version is equivalent to the HD DVD import version? Thanks.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnikirk View Post

Ralph,

By chance do you know if the BD version is equivalent to the HD DVD import version? Thanks.

Greetings,

I don't know...sorry.


Cheers,
post #4 of 23
Great review. I'll probably pick this up down the line.
post #5 of 23
I didn't like this movie at all, but maybe I will watch it again on Blu-ray if Ralph says he liked it better a second time around. Some movies are just like that.
post #6 of 23
Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the review. Are all the special features presented in HD ? Another reviewer in the blu-ray software section mentioned that some of the extras are presented in SD and the alternative endings doesn't feature the theatrical ending. Please clarify.
post #7 of 23
I wonder if this version has the same jaggies as the version overseas.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the review. Are all the special features presented in HD ? Another reviewer in the blu-ray software section mentioned that some of the extras are presented in SD and the alternative endings doesn't feature the theatrical ending. Please clarify.

Greetings,

lgans316, I saw his mention of that which is one of the reasons why I clarified both issues in my review. The theatrical ending as I remember it is alternate ending #1. The bonus features are VC-1 encoded with bitrates consistent with HD but the film footage included within them does not look that great. The interviews etc. look much better. I can see where one could initially think that they were not in HD. I thought it best to report them this way and make mention of the lesser quality in the bonus features portion.

Cheers,
post #9 of 23
Thanks a ton Ralph for the confirmation. Really appreciate you for checking and reverting back.
post #10 of 23
Hey Ralph was wondering if you could setup a index like you have of your movie collection but it would consist of all your reviews.

Oh and your reviews kick ass

*how many bulbs have you've gone through on your projector? Seems like you put out a new review ever day
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttabean View Post

Hey Ralph was wondering if you could setup a index like you have of your movie collection but it would consist of all your reviews.

Oh and your reviews kick ass

*how many bulbs have you've gone through on your projector? Seems like you put out a new review ever day

Greetings,

Its already done BB. It is alphabetized by title. It is stickied right here in the review forum. Here is the link:

Blu-ray disc Review database

Cheers,
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Its already done BB. It is alphabetized by title. It is stickied right here in the review forum. Here is the link:

Blu-ray disc Review database

Cheers,

Well I feel like a Jackass now Thanks for the heads up
post #13 of 23
Hello,

I read on some sites, that 1408 and The Mist are region free ?
Do someone can confirm please ?
Thank you !
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBougre View Post

Hello,

I read on some sites, that 1408 and The Mist are region free ?
Do someone can confirm please ?
Thank you !

Greetings,

LeBourge, I am not sure and can only confirm Region A playback. Sorry.

btw - Welcome to AVS !


Regards,
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

LeBourge, I am not sure and can only confirm Region A playback. Sorry.

btw - Welcome to AVS !


Regards,

Ok, thanks anyway

Thanks
post #16 of 23
LeBourge, they are both region free.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kram Sacul View Post

I wonder if this version has the same jaggies as the version overseas.

Curious about this as well. Held off on the import for this reason.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
See review for info.


Regards,
post #19 of 23
Am I missing the theatrical ending on this disc? I've watched the two alternate endings labeled as such, yet neither are the theatrical one.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by BStecke View Post

Am I missing the theatrical ending on this disc? I've watched the two alternate endings labeled as such, yet neither are the theatrical one.

alternate ending #2 was close to the theatrical. only difference was that the wife wasn't listening to the tape.


i absolutely hated the ending they put on the blu ray. it completely ruined the movie in my opinion.

i was actually mad about it for days. i told my brother and gf how great this movie was. they hadnt seen it. so we watch the blu ray, and i was shocked to see an alternate ending. my brother and gf hated it, and said it was a terrible movie. i had to explain the theatrical ending to them, but it just wasnt the same.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mango259 View Post

alternate ending #2 was close to the theatrical. only difference was that the wife wasn't listening to the tape.


i absolutely hated the ending they put on the blu ray. it completely ruined the movie in my opinion.

i was actually mad about it for days. i told my brother and gf how great this movie was. they hadnt seen it. so we watch the blu ray, and i was shocked to see an alternate ending. my brother and gf hated it, and said it was a terrible movie. i had to explain the theatrical ending to them, but it just wasnt the same.

Agreed, pisses me off to no end. I would go for a double-dip in a SECOND.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mango259 View Post

i absolutely hated the ending they put on the blu ray. it completely ruined the movie in my opinion.

Agreed. Although I tend to prefer darker endings for horror movies in general, I think the theatrical ending was the superior ending for this movie.

This release should've been branched for the different endings, IMO, instead of demoting the theatrical ending down to just being a bonus feature.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mango259 View Post

i absolutely hated the ending they put on the blu ray. it completely ruined the movie in my opinion.

If you can track it down, and are willing to part with $50-$60, you can get the German Blu-ray, which exclusively features the theatrical cut in glorious 1080p and English Master Audio with no forced subtitles. It's housed in a sexy steelbook and it plays just fine on Region A players, too. I got mine from http://shop.dtm.at/, but they're (at least currently) out of stock...
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