Saturday, 2 October 2010
Tagline: No one lasts more than an hour.
Cusack plays: Writer Mike Enslin
Since The Shining, hotel rooms have been really creepy places, which Cusack's character acknowledges in this reasonable, but not terrifying horror, based on a Stephen King short story (Cusack's second King adaptation, after Stand by Me).
Mike Enslin is a writer, who has made a career of visiting haunted hotels and inns and rating them on a scary skull scale, despite the fact that he doesn't believe in the paranormal. He receives a postcard warning him not to check into room 1408 ("=13, cute") at New York's Dolphin Hotel. Despite the protests of manager Samuel L Jackson ("It's an evil fucking room!") he checks in and almost immediately the horror begins, with the clock counting down one hour, and the Carpenters 'We've only just begun' blasting out.
Largely Cusack's film to carry (with some flashbacks and minor creepy characters) he does a pretty decent job as a desperate and haunted (dead daughter in his past) man, but while the shocks and jumps work well in a dark cinema they just don't have the same effect watching at home on a sunny day. Depending on which dvd version you have, there are different endings, the orginal one having been reshot for theatrical release, and I had the original one. Reading the description of the other, I think I probably preferred the one I was given. Don't recall which one it was when I first saw it at the cinema...