Stephen King is without doubt the father of the horror genre, his books have been adapted to the big screen to make some of the most gripping and terrifying movies of all time but it’s so easy to forget just how big the contribution King has made is.
For me, there has been countless occasions where I have thoroughly enjoyed a movie only to find that it was a Stephen King adaption as the credits role and 1408 was one of those occasions. I suppose I should have known, in retrospect it seems obvious, all the hallmarks of King’s work are present and as far as adaptions go, this one has it all and more.
The movie stars John Cusack as a road weary paranormal investigator and writer who’s travels have left him cynical and overly skeptical but still yearning for a truly supernatural experience. Cusack’s character (Mike Enslin) receives an anonymous postcard advising him to stay away from room 1408 of the Dolphin hotel in New York City and of course this does nothing but fuel his interest in the location.
Upon researching the history of the room it becomes apparent that Enslin might be dealing with something a bit different to the haunted house’s he is used to frequenting. Over the years the room has claimed 42 victims either by suicide or natural means but learning this information does not act as a deterrent to Enslin who seems increasingly adamant he will stay at the hotel and prove that it room 1408 is like any other and the events that have taken place are simply coincidences.
When Enslin arrives at the hotel he quickly becomes acquainted with the hotel manager Mr.Olin who is played by Samuel L Jackson. Mr. Olin begs Enslin to reconsider his stay and warns that pure evil resides in the room but again this only serves to further ignite the interests of Enslin who is eager to display the courage of his convictions.
Mr.Olin eventually agrees to rent the room and accompanies Enslin as far as the elevator on the thirteenth floor, he refuses to go any further purely out of fear of what may happen. Enslin enters the room in jovial humor and begins to mockingly recount trivial events in the room into his dictaphone until things begin to get strange. The room gradually begins to break him, as time stands still the room begins to manifest his worse fears and it becomes impossible for him to leave as the doors lock.
Things go from bad to worse for Enslin and eventually the events culminate in a truly heartbreaking scene that is fantastically delivered by Cusack.
The performances here are all strong. Cusack is excellent throughout and this goes down as one of my favorite performances of his. Sam Jackson is more of a bit part than a starring role but he plays his part well and his chemistry with Cusack is awesome. Overall this is a must see for every horror fan.