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Movie Talk: John Cusack Kills in Stephen King’s ‘1408’ (DVD Review)


1408 (2007)

Written by: Wayne C. Rogers

The number of films adapted from a work by Stephen King are too numerous to list here; but, the number of excellent movies based on a story by the horror maestro is a lot shorter–The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, Misery, The Dead Zone, Hearts of Atlantis, Delores Clairborn, The Mist, Cujo, Christine, and 1408.  This movie, starring John Cusack, was one of the best films I saw the year it came out, and the Director’s Cut with an alternate ending on the special two-disc DVD collection is just as good, if not better in my opinion.

For those of you not familiar with either the story or film, John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, a man who travels around the country and debunks the myth of haunted houses and rooms, publishing the results in his “occult travel guides.”  He simply doesn’t believe in the afterlife or the supernatural, or anything for that matter, especially since the death of his young daughter from a long illness.  Everything changes, however, when he visits the Dolphin Hotel in New York City and stays in the infamous Room 1408.

Though the manager of the hotel (played wonderfully by Samuel L. Jackson) warns him about the dangers of the room and the large number of people who have died there, Cusack’s character thinks it’s all a bunch of hot air, designed to attract people to the hotel and increase the yearly revenue.  Once Cusack gets settled into the room, however, things start happening to slowly change his mind and by the last quarter of the film, he’s struggling just to stay alive.  That’s when he decides to fight back and to figure out a way to destroy the room and its evil residue.

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For me, this was one of John Cusack’s better roles.  He carried ninety percent of the film on his shoulders and did so brilliantly.  I believed in him and his character, and I desperately wanted Mike Enslin to make it out of the room alive.  Samuel L. Jackson also did a great job as the smooth talking manager who knows the truth about Room 1408 and decides to let John Cusack do what he has to do.

The special effects of the film are utterly believable and extremely intense and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, spilling the popcorn on the floor.  I also have to say that though I really enjoyed the theatrical version of the movie, I think the Director’s Cut on the two-disc set was even better.  It was longer with an additional seventeen minutes added to the last third of the film, and the alternate ending was more realistic.  If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s writing, or an avid viewer of horror flicks, I would highly recommend this movie.

Rating: 5/5

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

12 Comments on Movie Talk: John Cusack Kills in Stephen King’s ‘1408’ (DVD Review)

  1. Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    I really enjoyed this movie too.

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  2. Under appreciated movie. Scary as hell.

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  3. I thought this movie was fantastic and frightening. I couldn’t understand why it got mixed reviews from horror movie fans. Sometimes I think the general horror movie watching audience just doesn’t want to use thier brains. They would prefer a simple slasher over a mindbender like this.

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  4. Vitina Molgaard // March 1, 2014 at 8:30 pm // Reply

    I am going to agree here with Parlor of Horror here…I personally like a scary thinking mindbender over the slasher…simple gore just doesn’t do it for me. I want to be creeped out by where my mind goes with the story line…Nie Review…Wayne….just me…vitina

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  5. no complaints from me. Dig King, dig Cusack – dug this movie. One of my favorite King adaptations – up there with The Mist and Silver Bullet (of course King’s non-horror flicks are awesome as well – IE Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile)

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  6. Dave Watkins // March 2, 2014 at 9:16 am // Reply

    I’m with Vitina and Parlot. I much prefer thinking horror over gore. This film scared the beejeezus out of me. I’ll now have to check out the directors cut! Good review.

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  7. Hey! Just wanted to say that I agree with Matt- love King, Cusack, and this movie! Saw it at the theaters when it came out and I own the DVD.

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  8. I’ve only seen this movie once but I really enjoyed it, I’m going to have to re-watch it again soon:)

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  9. I love the short story, with its ambiguity, but the movie I thought was an excess laden mess and Cusack who I freely admit I’m no fan of seemed to be acting like he thought he was in a comedy. That was my take anyway, it’s all subjective.

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  10. Wayne C. Rogers // March 5, 2014 at 2:01 am // Reply

    Mark, I think you and I saw different movies.

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  11. This is one of my favorite king adaptions, great movie and i also love the directors cut better!

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