Poor horror films. Hollywood is so confused about how to make a good one. Do they slice and dice and bring on the gore? Do they make a teenybopper flick with an afterthought of a serial killer at the end? Or do they cram John Cusack in a hotel room and make him go crazy? Welcome to 1408.
Based on Stephen King's short story, 1408 is an amazingly lackluster potboiler about a skeptical writer who's determined not to believe in the netherworld. A hack who tours haunted hotels for travel books, Mike Enslin (Cusack) gets a tip about a supposedly haunted room in New York City's Dolphin Hotel. Engrossed, he persuades the reluctant hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson) to let him stay a night. But beware... no one ever lasts more than an hour in Room 1408! (Cue maniacal laughter.)
Within minutes, the once-cynical, now-pussified Mike buckles under the eeeeevil of Room 1408—and unfortunately, you too will buckle under the eeeeevil annoyance of Cusack's constant screaming and eye bulging. (There's lots of that.) That's about it for the plot, and for the overall experience of watching 1408: It's you and Cusack... in a room... for an hour... while he screams and mumbles to himself. There's also something to do with Mike's dead daughter—he misses her, so the room sends him the dress she was buried in... via the fax machine! (The room is a very good ironer).
While light on plot, terror, and suspense, 1408 has a few pleasing amenities. (John Cusack screaming into the mini-bar is actually really, really funny.) But you'd be better off reading King's story, so as not to see the sweaty screaming thing that is Cusack.