| 1408 |
Dir. Mikael Håfström, writ. Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Stephen King (short story); feat. John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Jasmine Jessica Anthony (R)
John Cusack — who mysteriously maintains the illusion of artistic integrity even though he ever-more-regularly stars in some of the cheapest formula movies Hollywood churns out (Must Love Dogs, Runaway Jury, Serendipity, America’s Sweethearts … need I go on?) — plays ghost debunker Mike Enslin in this adaptation of a little-known King short story.
Still grieving a year after the death of his daughter, Enslin resides in Southern California and earns his living writing bargain-bookstore-quality tour diaries of haunted-hotel experiences, or rather the lack of a haunted experience since, after all, he doesn’t believe in any of that hooey because he lost his faith when his daughter died — shock.
A mystery invitation to visit the Dolphin Hotel in New York City — where his wife resides, whom he hasn’t spoken with since their mutual loss — is about to change that, though. The mystery grows even deeper when Enslin discovers that the hotel management has no interest in exploiting his talents for attracting ghost tourism. Thanks to a legal loophole, though, the Dolphin has to provide Enslin the room, which doesn’t please hotel manager Mr. Olin. Samuel L. Jackson plays this minor but important role without the expected creepiness. but instead as a man who has seen so much weirdness in his career that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to avoid further weirdness. Enslin mistakes this “unwillingness” to cooperate as part of the scare factor Olin wants to build. Olin, however, really just doesn’t want to have to clean up the room after Enslin’s inevitable death. When Enslin asks if the room’s haunted for real then, Olin explains, “It’s just an evil fucking room.” Classic Sam Jackson.