Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a writer who specialises in haunted stuff. He travels around the country visiting haunted houses, mansions, graveyards, hotels and the like, then publishes books on them, usually with less-than-complimentary opinions on the sites.
After receiving a card telling him not to go to room 1408 in the Dolphin hotel in New York he, of course, does so. He expects to be greeted with the same rubbish he's experienced time and time again, the same pitch-to-the-tourists buildup, the same anticlimactic stay in the room.
See, Enslin is an atheist and does not believe in ghosts. And right there is my single complaint about the movie. It's yet another "prove the atheist wrong" piece of modern entertainment.
Anyway, Enslin is surprised when the Dolphin's manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), tells him that room 1408 genuinely has a bloody and horrific history and that, in fact, the room is no longer open for guests. Enslin can't stay there. Enslin insists. Olin capitulates. And thus begins a night of terror and horror.
Okay, there are a few genuinely scary moments in this film, and a lot of jump moments. There is almost none of the gore that we expect in modern horror, just a little blood, but plenty of fright, some very clever directing, some above-par acting and some great special effects.
A very intelligent movie that is a great break from the lakes of blood that horror movies rely on these days.
Doombreed Rating: * * * * 1/2