When we meet Mike Enslin played quite nicely by John Cusack (Better Off Dead, Grosse Pointe Blank) he's a writer who has most definitely lost his passion to write. All of his books are the same and none of them sound that interesting to be exact. He continues to write these lame countdown books of the scariest or most haunted places in America, lame. But that's all soon to change when he gets a mysterious postcard in his mail for The Dolphin Hotel in New York. Not without a warning "Don't stay in room 1408", but like any good investigative writer doesn't listen to the creepy postcard in his P.O. box.
Once we finally are in the hotel, we meet Sam Jackson's character Gerald Olin, the hotel manager who begs with Cusack's Mike to "Do Not Stay in that Room". He offers complimentary gifts, tells him to stay in another room, everything, but Mike's stubbornness won't have it. He must prove Olin wrong and stay in the room one whole night without either going crazy or taking his own life like many of the other residents of 1408 have done in the past. When Olin takes Enslin up to the 14th floor we the audience know something's wrong, Olin himself will barely get off the elevator before showing Mike how to get there.
After Olin's departure we go on a wild ride. Are we seeing things? Is Mike? Nothing seems to be right, because everything seems so normal at first but things change quickly for Mike, things start randomly breaking , people are appearing, ghosts of guests past? Maybe, or could all this be in Mike's head, maybe he's having a mental breakdown. The room starts changing, nothing seems quite right anymore and that's the fun in this film.
The film overall has some great scares in it. But the best scenes are the emotional breakdowns of Cusack's Mike Enslin. Cusack has played many roles in the past usually with his own quirkiness attached to it and he does the same here yet it works so perfectly for the guy that Mike Enslin is. Jackson's performance is welcomed as it's something different than what you would expect from him. There are also some nice performance from the supporting cast with Tony Shaloub playing Mike's agent and Mary McCormack playing his mike's ex-wife. But actors aside I praise the director Mikael Håfström, he could have easily made this film using digital effects and cgi but instead he went practical and after you see the film you will understand why that's so cool.
Overall this film gets a 8/10