Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Day 183: 1408

Some Stephen King adaptations are a little hard to watch, I'll be the first to admit. 1408 is a refreshing anomaly in that it actually works quite well.

John Cusack is a professional skeptic who stays in supposedly haunted hotels and then debunks the hauntings in a successful series of books. Things get weird when he gets an invite (or disinvite as it tells him to stay away) to room 1408 at the Hotel Dolphin in New York City. Sam Jackson plays the hotel manager who attempts to refuse Cusack access to the room where 56 people have died in the past 95 years. He goes on to say that no one lasts more than an hour in the room.

The idea of the movie isn't so much a haunted hotel room as an evil hotel room. Everything the room can do to drive a man to suicide, it does, including allowing previous guests to make an appearance. There are lots of moments where one's eyes can't be trusted and the room changes the rules of the game arbitrarily. Most of the movie takes place in that first hour in the room, giving it a real time feel. Most of the effects look seamless (although a few weird CGI choices are almost laughable) so kudos to the director (Mikael Hafstrom) for mostly pulling it off.

Cusack does a great job bringing his cool, sarcastic intelligence to these big, weird moments. Jackson does fine in his small role. As far as evil hotel movies based on Stephen King works go, this will always be  distant second to The Shining but it is still worth your time.

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