Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub
Screenplay: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
104 mins. Rated PG-13 for
Hey folks, not much time tonight, so I’m going to cover one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations in 1408, a near-perfect small horror story.
Mike Enslin (John Cusack, Being John Malkovitch, Cell) is a horror writer, a reviewer of haunted places. And now, while writing his next book on haunted hotels, he sets his sights on the Dolphin Hotel, and its infamous room, 1408. The hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction, Avengers: Age of Ultron) wishes to stop him from ever getting in, but when Mike is in the room, he discovers that the 56 people who have died in 1408 haven’t all left, and they are looking to make Mike Number 57.
1408 is small, and that isn’t a bad thing. I regularly cite 1408 and its impressive use of its small setting and focus on its lead with a powerful performance from Cusack. The movie wouldn’t work without someone strong at the forefront, and Cusack proves his worth here.
He is matched by a small supporting role from Jackson, who may not appear in the film often, but does offer opposition whenever given the opportunity. There’s some nice albeit miniscule work from Mary McCormack (K-Pax, Scooby Doo! WrestleMania Mystery) and Tony Shalhoub (TV’s Monk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows) here, but again, the stars of 1408 are John Cusack and Room 1408.
Director Mikael Hafstrom (Escape Plan, The Rite) may not be a big name, but he certainly wields a big vision with 1408, a small movie which is the biggest compliment I can give in a world where movies feel like they have to get bigger and bigger. The source material from Stephen King is great, it is adapted very well, performed extremely well, and tied up nicely. There is a fault. Oh yes. The ending. I won’t dicsuss it, but I will say, watch the Director’s Cut. The ending there feels more in line with the foreshadowing the film constantly throws out. The film is great nonetheless, but the ending of the Theatrical Cut could have hit better.
-Kyle A. Goethe