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3

Another Stephen King adap, another author-protagonist going out of their gourd in a confined setting (see The Shining, Misery, Secret Window…). Here, our hapless hack is John Cusack, a superstition-debunking travel writer who pits his scepticism against the murky, murderous reputation of Room 1408 in Manhattan’s Dolphin Hotel (“It’s an evil fucking room,” warns manager Samuel L Jackson, lingering just long enough to pick up his cheque). From here on in it’s a one-John show, with Cusack making a masterclass out of an acting exercise even as director Mikael Håfström’s (Derailed) schlock tactics grow increasingly shrill, repetitive and desperate (credit, though, for the creepiest take on The Carpenters since Todd Haynes’ puppet freakshow Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story). Slick, nerve-tickling stuff, but it needs a harsher edit – not the extended (even darker) cut we get here, bracketed by bitty featurettes and a wedge of chopped scenes.

 

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