Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sometimes The Alternate Endings Are Better

Syfy was showing 1408 (with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson) over the weekend, and I hadn't watched that movie since I saw it in theaters almost 8 years ago.

It was still an OK movie, nothing spectacular, but some good jump scares. What interested me was they showed the original ending, as opposed to the one used in the theatrical release. Spoiler: When I saw it in theaters, Cusack's character survived, I think because the room's attempt to torment him with his deceased child backfired, and she was able to spark  his will to live. Either that or the room was trying all along to make him believe in something and pull back from his self-imposed cynicism. I forget, it's been 8 years. In the version I saw this weekend, the room tells him it will never let him out, so he might as well kill himself. He decides that if he's going, he's taking the room with him and burns the whole thing down.

I don't normally default to the idea that more depressing endings are "better", but this one did seem to fit more naturally with the story up to that point. The room presents it as an hour of torment (that seems a lot longer), but just when you think he's narrowly survived its attempt to tear him down entirely, the hour starts over. It presents false hope, the idea there's an escape if he can just endure, and then pulls it away like Lucy with the football.

Besides, I like Cusack's response for the sheer "fuck you" nature of it, even if I'm a little surprised an evil room can be killed with fire. But maybe it was the emotion behind his act that gave it power.

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