Renowned horror novelist Mike Enslin (Cusack) only believes what he can see with his own two eyes. After a string of bestsellers discrediting paranormal events in the most infamous haunted houses and graveyards around the world, he scoffs at the concept of an afterlife. Enslin's phantom-free run of long and lonely nights is about to change forever when he checks into suite 1408 of the notorious Dolphin Hotel for his latest project, Ten Nights in Haunted Hotel Rooms. Defying the warnings of the hotel manager (Jackson), the author is the first person in years to stay in the reputedly haunted room. Another bestseller may be imminent, but like all Stephen King heroes, Enslin must go from skeptic to true believer--and ultimately survive the night.
Although his presence in 1408 is not as long as many would suspect (the film is mostly a one-man show), Samuel L. Jackson has, by far, the most memorable and entertaining scene in the entire movie--as the hotel manager of The Dolphin, he implores Cusack's character to forget about staying in Room 1408 with ominous tales of madness. This brief but important exchange sets the dark, claustrophobic tone of the story, and also brings up a curious point: is the manager good or evil?
In a press conference interview with the cast and crew of 1408, John Cusack pointed out that audiences were split in this little debate, and that women largely believed Jackson's character was trying to warn his of impending danger, while men seemed to think that he was setting him up for doom. My personal take is that Samuel L. Jackson is sinister, and bears a similarity to Leland Gaunt in Stephen King's novel Needful Things. But angelic or demonic, Jackson's short turn in this adaptation is the highlight, and is 1408's best moment.