John Cusack as Mike Enslin
Samuel L. Jackson as Gerard Olin
Mary McCormack as Lily Enslin
Jasmine Jessica Anthony as Katie Enslin
Tony Shalhoub as Sam Farrell
Directed by Mikael Håfström
Unless the name Frank Darabont is listed next to “directed by” in a Stephen King film’s billing block, let’s be honest, there’s really no reason to get your hopes up. That’s a stance I’ve defended for the last decade…and I’m a King fanatic. A #1 fan. Hell, the man practically raised me from afar from his scenic nook in Maine. And like anyone who has tracked his cinematic works, I accept that it’s an undulating terrain full of masterful highs and abysmal lows. The same can be said for a sub-genre I’m also an enormous fan of: the haunted house yarn. Needless to say, that, too, has also felt its share of embarrassments. That said, the King-“haunted [insert residence here]” combo, as usual, opens the doors to unknown variables. Done right (“The Shining”), they’re resonating bone-chillers; done poorly (“Rose Red”) they’re about as scary as those cheap-o bat-on-a-string gags going “whee! whee!” at a Halloween novelty store. “1408,” while not great, leans more into that “done right” category. It captures the essence of King’s endearing characterizations but sorta falls flat when it comes to goosebumpy true frights.