Thirty-six years after writing The Shining, hailed as one of the scariest novels ever written, Stephen King wrote its sequel, Doctor Sleep. The second installment followed a grown-up Danny Torrance, still dealing with the trauma he and his mother suffered at the Overlook Hotel. This November sees the big screen adaptation of Doctor Sleep, written for the screen and directed by Mike Flanagan. Infamously, King hated the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film of The Shining, but as we see from the first trailer, Flanagan sure doesn’t.
The film stars Ewan McGregor as grown-up Dan Torrance, a recovering alcoholic like his father who takes a job as a hospice orderly, pushing his Shining ability down deep. Occasionally he’ll use his power to help the terminally ill pass in peace (hence his nickname, “Doctor Sleep”). But when he meets Abra (newcomer Kyliegh Curran), a young girl with the same abilities, Dan will have to deal with his past. The trailer doesn’t beat around the bush, showing direct replications of scenes and moments from the Kubrick film.
We also get shots of the film’s villain, Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who also has the Shine. Along with her creepy circus gang, she steals the life of other Shiners. It’s pretty brutal, which the trailer hints at.
Flanagan is maybe the perfect filmmaker to take on this project. Not only has he proved he can work within a studio, he’s also adapted an “unfilmable” King novel, Gerald’s Game, into a truly affecting work. With last year’s The Haunting of Hill House, he’s also shown how well he can change a classic novel to fit a very modern (and still terrifying) story. It’s truly an amazing feat, then, that he even tried to straddle the line between King’s source material and Kubrick’s cinematic visuals.
Indeed, nearly every shot that looks like it was from The Shining has been meticulously re-created for Doctor Sleep. I say nearly; the shot of the blood from the elevator is a Kubrick shot. The rest, though, is Flanagan. They rebuilt the whole Overlook Hotel. That’s impressive. For a deeper look at that aspect of Doctor Sleep, check out what Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy had to say HERE.
And look for Doctor Sleep in cinemas this November.
Images: Warner Bros