Directed: Mikael Håfström
Writers: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski (screenplay); Stephen King (short story)
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, and Tony Shalhoub
Rated: PG-13 (some violence)
When I first saw 1408 a few years back, I thought it was one of the few films that had some genuine scares for me. The Stephen King adaptation follows a haunted attraction writer (Cusack) who is eager to sleep in room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel, a room said to be pure evil. Thinking it will make a great finale for his latest book, he refuses anything less than to spend the night in the room despite desperate pleas and bribes by the manager (Samuel L. Jackson.
Mike, the writer, first writes the room off as just another typical hotel room until strange things start happening in the room. It starts out as a few weird occurrences such as the radio turning on and items being rearranged in the room, which Mike dismisses as trickery by the hotel staff. But soon, things get much more bizarre when he see’s figures, illusions, and goes through dramatic temperature changes.
The film has a great story. A cynical writer faces true terror in a hotel room with a dark and grisly past. One of the problems with scary movies is that once you’ve seen them once, they’re hard to achieve the same effect again. Back when I first saw this film, I felt some truly chilling moments and I really felt the psychological horror of the film. This time around, it has its jumpy moments and some good creepy imagery, but didn’t have the same level of exciting creepiness as expected. The psychological aspect is really what drove the film for me though, as the perplexing scenarios and twists were just as intense as watching for the first time.