“It’s an evil fucking room.” Samuel L, Jackson, as Dolphin Hotel manager Gerald Olin, sums up the nature of the evil in 1408 with his usual pithy bluntness. In this intense horror flick based on a Stephen King short story and directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Håfström, there are no visible ghosts (well, maybe a few short-lived ones), headless phantoms, or flesh-eating zombies. And thank God, because it’s generally so much scarier without them. The baddies in this film are forces unseen, demons who possess a room rather than haunt it. Part nightmare, part acid trip, part psychological thriller, 1408 is one of the more successful King adaptations, combining the cerebral with the visceral in a way that may even outstrip Kubrick’s The Shining (which, for the record, has never been one of my favorite Kubrick films)..
Both as a writer and director, Frank Darabont seems to have an affinity for adapting Stephen King’s stories to the screen. He’s only performed both those functions for three feature-length films—The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Green Mile (1999), and The Mist (2007)—but all three have met with well-deserved general and critical acclaim. I would agree, however, with those who’ve argued that The Mist, based on a King novella, is not at the level of Darabont’s previous two directorial efforts.