Stephen King has had a lot of his works adapted to film. Some of them good (“The Shining”), and some of them not so good (looking at you, “A Good Marriage”). An iconic horror writer, basically a maestro, his movie adaptations are so diverse, they might as well encompass a horror subgenre all their own. Director Mikael Håfström’s “1408,” adapted from King’s short story of the same name, is curiously lesser-known. Though it isn’t one of his most popular works, its adaptation remains one of the early aughts’ scariest movies, one guaranteed to make audiences think twice before they book another hotel room.
John Cusack stars as Michael Enslin, an incredulous author whose beat is paranormal skepticism. Driven by grief and estrangement from his wife, he opts to take it out on the ghosts he doesn’t believe exist. Consequently, he books room 1408 at The Dolphin, an ostensibly haunted hotel. Unfortunately for Michael, room 1408 is genuinely haunted. With a mix of conventional ghosties, temporal loops, and suffocating paranoia, “1408” makes excellent use of its limited scope, turning a standard hotel room into a hotbed of terror.