John Cusack has never quite been synonymous with the horror genre, but he definitely nails it in the 2007 Mikael Håfström adaptation of the Stephen King short story, 1408. This particular film caught me by surprise, most specifically because I don’t expect a film with John Cusack to be frightening, but 1408 manages to scare while still being surprisingly easily accessible to most audiences.
Mike Enslin (Cusack), a horror author, builds his career around haunted houses which he investigates, but as his investigations have always been fruitless, he has become disillusioned with his craft … until he hears of a haunted room in the Dolphin Inn, in New York.
On arriving, he’s given a stern warning regarding the room by the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson), who explains that a total of 56 people have already died in the room and they don’t rent out the room as they do not want any further casualties. Cusack, adamant as a skeptic, forces the hotel to allow him to stay in the room and as his night progresses, the seemingly hotel room starts coming to life with terrifying supernatural forces who seemingly will only allow Enslin to leave the room one way…by dying.
Blurring the line between supernatural occurances and insanity, following Enslin’s experiences in the room is very entertaining and it will definitely have you hiding under a blanket quite frequently. It really is quite refreshing to see a film that doesn’t try to over-complicate itself, instead focusing on one location – one room, in fact, in which to tell its story. The room manages to be the film’s most entertaining supporting actor as it ‘comes alive’ thought the film and we are left with a horror film that is quite unlike many of the other films made around that time, and since then… a film generous in scares and while it might not be the scariest film on my list, it is unique enough for all horror fans to enjoy. Definitely one for a horror movie night!
Last Updated: September 13, 2013