A skeptical writer spends the night in a haunted hotel room.
The horror film 1408 is satisfyingly compact and creepy, said Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. Based on a Stephen King short story, the movie 'œbreaks no new ground, but it plows old ground with style.' John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, a writer who makes his living writing cheesy travel books about haunted locales. For his Haunted Hotel Rooms edition, Enslin visits the Dolphin Hotel in New York City, where the manager (Samuel L. Jackson) refuses him entry into the notorious Room 1408. 'œIt's an evil f---ing room,' he explains. That scene between Cusack and Jackson is by far the movie's best, said Robert Butler in The Kansas City Star, 'œso sharply written and deftly played that the real meat of the story'”what happens to Mike in 1408'”feels like an afterthought.' We've been through this hotel-room thing before, in better adaptations of King writings. So the sound of a clock radio playing a Carpenters hit over and over, or the sight of bleeding walls, isn't nearly as frightening as Jackson's explicit one-liner. Yet director Mikael Hafstrom's 'œrefreshingly old-school,' slow-build strategy is a convincing rebuttal to the prevailing MO for horror films, said Steve Murray in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 1408 'œearns its shivers without resorting to the mindless slice-and-dice clichÃ©s of all the Saws and Hostels glutting the multiplex.'