John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, a best selling author who spends his life debunking the supernatural. He wasn’t always this way, but since loosing his young daughter to a mystery illness he’s turned his back on God and all evidence of the spiritual side of life.
However, this movie based on a Steven King novella is going to force Enslin to face the reality of a dark and sinister spiritual reality when he checks into the infamous room 1408. No one has ever survived staying in the room for more that an hour, so much that the hotel manager (played by an on form Samuel L Jackson) tries his best to dissuade him from staying their.
Once settled in, Enslin starts to regret taking on the supernatural, as he enters into a nightmarish existence seemingly trapped in the room. Mike will have to use all his experience to figure out what the dark spirits that haunt this room want of him if he’s ever to escape.
Cusack jumps into his role with relish, and plays the part to a tee. It’s pure pleasure to watch him go from self assure, self proclaimed expert in his field, to a sniveling, scared ball of fear, desperate to escape. The thrills and pace kick into high gear and there are enough plot twists and turns to keep you wondering right to the end.
As far as horrors go, 1408 isn’t the scariest movie out there; I’d call it more of a supernatural thriller, though it will no doubt send a few timid people behind the couch.
The story this film was based on was almost never written. Stephen King originally created the first few pages of ‘1408’ for his nonfiction book, “On Writing,” as an example of how to revise a first draft. The story, however, intrigued him, and he wound up not only finishing a complete draft, but adapting it for an audio-book compilation of short stories.
There are many references to the number “13” throughout the movie. The room is numbered “1408”, add each number together equals 13. The room is on the 14th floor, and the Hotel skips the 13th floor, so the room is technically on the 13th floor. The room’s key lock also has “6214” etched into it, which adds up to 13. And the first death was in the year 1912, which adds to 13. The hotel is mentioned to be at 2254 Lexington Street in New York City. 2254 adds up to 13.
One of the first victims of the room was named “Grady.” Grady was a character in “The Shining,” Stephen King’s other horror story about a hotel.
Mike Enslin has a Chicago White Sox hat. Chicago is John Cusack’s home town. Also, in a previous film, Eight Men Out (1988), John Cusack portrayed White Sox Third Baseman George “Buck” Weaver. John Cusack himself is a both a devoted Chicago Cubs fan and a Chicago White Sox fan. He has said so in numerous interviews.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Supernatural Themes & Violence.
Duration: 104 mins.
Genre: Supernatural Horror.
Director: Mikael Håfström.
Actors: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub, Mary McCormack, Jasmine Jessica Anthony.
Release Date: Available now.