Stay the Night in "1408" with John Cusack


Master horror writer and cultural icon Stephen King has had over 30 stories adapted into movies or T.V. mini-series.  "1408" is one of the more successful film adaptations in recent memory.   Starring John Cusack in a sort of one man performance as Mike Enslin.  Enslin is a struggling writer who has just completed his latest book on haunted hotels.  He is a non-believer in ghosts and ghoulies and has lost his spiritual faith as well when his young daughter dies from a terminal illness.  He has turned into a cold and cynical man looking for something in life and just can't find it until he gets a postcard from the Dolphin Hotel in New York City.

Mike is from New York but since the death of his daughter Katie, he has left his wife and moved to Hermosa Beach, California.  He receives all kinds of mail from across the country from supposed haunted hotels that want him to stay the night.  He is drawn back home to New York and the Dolphin Hotel as he seems destined to stay in room 1408.  Sam Jackson plays the hotels manager Mr. Olin, who warns Mike about the room and its history.  How 56 people who have stayed in 1408 have died, some of natural causes, several suicides, and many other questionable deaths.  "Nobody has lasted more than an hour in 1408," says Mr. Olin.  Mike is on a mission and no matter what he is told he will stay in 1408 and that is final.

Upon arrival, Mike is thoroughly unimpressed.  The bland furnishings and clich├ęd art on the walls are thoroughly mocked as he talks into his trusty tape recorder.  He settles in with a free bottle of expensive booze and starts to pass the time when things start to get a little eerie.  Mike is not easily rattled but he starts to become unglued pretty quickly as things start to happen.  The radio turns on and ominously plays "We've only just begun" by The Carpenters.  Mike take a psychological ass kicking that propels the remainder of the movie.  Director Mikael Hafstrom has included a few homages to other great psychological horror films as he has the walls crack open like in Polanski's "Repulsion" and a snow-covered scene that brings back images of Kubrick's "The Shining".  This movie doesn't approach that level of greatness but is still a good film none the less.  John Cusack acts alone in a room for most of the film and pulls off an amazing performance.  The movie boils down to a man who is having trouble dealing with the death of his daughter, even though in flashbacks Katie assures him "daddy, everyone dies".  "1408" is well made, well, acted and worth checking out so watch it tonight.