Based on a Stephen King short story, 1408 started very strong. We were quickly introduced to the complexities of John Cusack’s character through deft editing, efficient dialogue, and Cusack’s effortless acting. Unfortunately, the movie became a tribute to inconstancy for the remainder of the film and went nowhere fast.
Cusack plays a once talented author who sold out. He now writes about haunted hotels after staying in them overnight. A total disbeliever, he is condescending of his own work and is often the opposite of what his readers expect when they meet him.
However, soon he is mysteriously invited to visit a hotel in New York City and stay specifically in room 1408. The manager, played magnanimously by Sam Jackson, refuses to rent Cusack the room, but eventually gives in due to legalities. Cusack believes it’s all just part of the show as he’s before seen such dramatizations.
Cusack quickly realizes that the room is actually haunted, and the movie spends a great deal of time trying to terrify us with psychological taunting. It offers many, what some may consider, cerebral twists and turns, but I found the whole thing a supreme waste of time. There were moments of true creepiness, but overall I thought it rather cliché and annoying.
I find Cusack always entertaining, but even he couldn’t rescue this movie as 1408 went nowhere fast, and this was especially disappointing because it started so interestingly.