Mike Enslin, played by John Cusack, is a sceptical writer of the paranormal. He travels all over America in the hope of finding signs of paranormal activity but usually ends up finding nothing. He is a small time author of a ‘most haunted’ series. One day his work takes him to the Dolphin Hotel to room 1408. The manager of the hotel, played by Samuel L Jackson, attempts to prevent him from staying in that room. Mike, thinking this is all a ploy to get him scared, is defiant and insists on having the room. Oh how he will come to regret that decision. Room 1408 takes Mike on a journey into his past; digging up moments long buried and forces him to confront his fears. This once sceptic writer is forced into a world he thought was pure myth, how wrong can one man be.
I am a fan of John Cusack and his performance is this film was not disappointing. John spends most of the film in room 1408 alone and therefore had to act alone often talking to himself. John pulled off a convincing performance, he turned from a cocky sceptic, questioning everything and believing nothing into a forced believer. John played this role wonderfully and the change in acting was visibly altering and adapting as the film progressed and his character became increasingly frantic and scared. I don’t think I could have picked a better actor to play Mike Enslin, as John not only suited the role but made it his own.
What shocked me about this film was the small part Samuel L Jackson played. Samuel played the manager of the Dolphin Hotel, Gerald Olin. Samuel appeared for roughly ten minutes at the start of the film and once or twice during the rest but in his short time on the screen he did impress me. The intensity of Samuel’s voice, facial expressions and body language had me scared for Mike Enslin and wished him not to go into that room, although I’m glad he did as the film would have been considerably shorter.
1408 was adapted from a Stephen King novel; although I have not read it myself I hear the film stayed true to the book. The way the film has you going from scared to confused then to jumpy and back to scared is brilliant, I had no idea what was coming next. The only fault I have with the film is when I saw it at the cinema the ending was brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But when I watched it on DVD the ending was different and definitely not as good, it was tacky and, for me, cheapened the film.
So my advice to you is, if you want to watch this film I highly recommend it and guarantee you will enjoy it, but ensure you have the cinema ending as it is the better of the two by far. I recommend this film to anyone who likes psychological horrors, you won’t be disappointed.
Written by Oliver Willis