Stephen King hasn’t had a very good record having his work translated to the silver screen. Somehow folks in Hollywood just aren’t creative enough to get his words from the page to images on the screen.
Even when adaptations are good, they’re not what he wrote. Stanley Kubrick made a movie of “The Shining” that was about alcoholism and domestic violence while King wrote a book about a haunted hotel. Not that other media have been that kind to Stephen either, cases in point: the USA Network’s “The Dead Zone” and Marvel Comics’ “Gunslinger.” Like a literary Rodney Dangerfield, the man just can’t get any respect.
Now we have 1408, based on one of King’s more recent short stories. Writer Mike Enslin writes books about haunted places, staying there and then writing debunking tales of them. Now, Mike stays in a hotel room that is actually evil. Hilarity ensues, as they say.
The basic idea of the story is here but with some extra frills as well. John Cusack is wonderful in the lead, and really, when in his almost three decade career, hasn’t he been? The brilliant Samuel L. Jackson serves up a chilling performance, and while he doesn’t shout he does deliver his patented F word.
It’s a writer movie so I appreciated the book signing scene. But more than a writer movie, it’s a ‘horror’ flick. There are some predictable scares as well as some elaborate and unexpected ones. Happily, unlike a lot of ‘horror’ flicks there is little gore or violence. And while the ending isn’t King’s, the essence is, and it’s a great watch. Check it out, King fan or not.