Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom


Starring: John Cusack, Samuel Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub, Jasmine Jessica Anthony


Synopsis: Mike Enslin, author, paranormal investigator and skeptic spends the night at the Dolphin Hotel in the infamous Room 1408, with a goal of proving the stories of its haunting wrong.

Thoughts: Stephen King’s genre adaptations are usually hit or miss, especially in recent years. Many of the most successful ones came out in the 70s and 80s, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been a few good ones here and there. 1408 is far from his best, but is a serviceable horror flick.

In much the same way that Stephen King movies are hit or miss, I find that the movies John Cusack finds himself in are also hit or miss. He’s had some movies I’ve loved, but he’s also been in some real stinkers. I kind of see him as a not nearly as insane Nic Cage. He does a pretty decent job here, playing a pretty typical Cusack role. What I mean by that is that this seems to be a character I’ve seen from him before. His characters usually seem very similar to me. Samuel Jackson is a huge name, but his role here is pretty small. He is the manager of the hotel that Cusack is staying at. In much the same way that Cusack seemed to be playing a familiar role, Jackson does the same. With that being said, Cusack and Jackson are good enough actors that they can support the story without giving us Oscar performances.

The name of Mikael Hafstrom might not be known to the average movie fan, but he has directed several movies that have been fairly large releases. He tends to jump between the horror genre (1408, The Rite) and action (Derailed, Escape Plan). I think he’s got a great eye, but I just don’t think he’s found the right movie quite yet. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him direct a major hit some day.

You could call 1408 an average film. It doesn’t do anything to really set itself apart from other movies, but it also doesn’t give you reason to hate it with a horrible script or inept acting. Somehow, 1408 takes average, or slightly above average pieces, and puts together an enjoyable movie. It’s spooky at times, and if you happen to be a parent, I think it also packs a bigger emotional punch. It’s definitely one of the better King adaptations of recent years, and worth your time to check out.

  1. Mike says:

    While I agree most Stephen King adaptations are hit or miss, I think it depends a lot on who is making them. For 1408, I thought Cusack did a good job and Hafstrom hit it out of the park when he made this movie. Creepy scenes, we’ve seen many motel horror movies come and go, but this one always stands out to me as one of the creepiest. Of course putting Samuel Jackson’s name on the cover was intentional as you said his name is big in the movie industry, and I feel Hafstrom just used him to get more publicity for his movie. His role was way too short to warrant a cover art spot, something we would see in a lower budget film for sure but something like this not so much.

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