I didn’t go see 1408 when it was in the theaters. I intended to. Life kept me away and it was gone. So I was really looking forward to it when it came out on DVD. And I ended up putting off watching it immediately.
I think part of the reason was that I really wanted to like it. Stephen King, when he’s on (and I think he will be in the upcoming Duma Key), can’t be beaten in the creep-factor. And John Cusack is just one of those actors that I can watch no matter what he’s in (though my personal fave is Gross Pointe Blank).
Having them together was just a little bit of heaven. In a hellish, possessed hotel room sort of way. With Samuel L. Jackson playing a hotel manager who might not exactly be on the side of the angels.
Happily, I enjoyed the movie, got my quota of scary moments and John Cusack intensity/one-liner presentations.
There’s nothing really new here. King has pulled off bigger scare fests that still manage to touch the heart. And Cusack has certainly performed in roles with more and deeper range. But they definitely landed in fair territory (to use a baseball euphemism that King will appreciate) with this one. You get more runs through base hits than with home runs. People just remember the home runs more.
Cusack, likeable as always with a touch of the sardonic and sarcastic, portrays Mike Enslin, a writer of true horror who doesn’t believe in the paranormal. Despite his lack of beliefs, his books have done well enough to give him a decent life. However, he’s never gotten over losing his young daughter, Katie, to a terminal illness or his own loss of faith. He puts God and ghosts on the same page and filed them all in the circular bin.