John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson star in this 2007 adaption of a Stephen King short story, directed by Mikael Håfström (Derailed, 2005) surrounding the mysteries of a haunted hotel room in New York City.
Cusack plays a disillusioned, down-trodden, depressed writer named Mike Enslin of “Top 10…” books which relate to supposedly haunted locals and when he receives an odd-looking invitation to visit The Dolphin Hotel with this haunted room 1408 he calls to make a reservation. Meeting resistance and then outright hostility, he resorts to having his publisher force legal action to secure him the room for a night.
Having recently lost his daughter to cancer and abandoned his wife in the aftermath, Enslin arrives in New York City at the hotel, where he is met by the hotel manager Gerald Olin who conspires, cajoles, bribes, extorts and attempts every other control method known to try to convince Enslin not to stay in room 1408. His reason: he doesn’t want to clean up the mess.
Enslin perseveres and it is here that the psychological horror last seen from a Stephen King novel to this degree about an author in The Shining comes to light as reality fades in and out and Cusack’s character goes from disbeliever, to skeptic, to believer, and finally to prisoner in room 1408. It is an effective telling of a horror story with great performances by Cusack and Jackson, if somewhat lackadaisacal screen-writing in the adaptation of King’s short story.
And as with any short story from Stephen King the ending it horrific and surprising; not surprising except in its form and ultimate timing. 1408 is as hotel manager Olin puts it, “[It’s] an evil fucking room.”
A question to answer in the comments section: Did you spot a Stephen King cameo anywhere in this movie? He usually pulls one off, but he does not show up in the credits and I can’t find him if he’s there.