In Doctor Sleep, the new film adaptation of King’s 2013 novel, director Mike Flanagan stays true to the book while also paying homage to Stanley Kubrick’s film version of The Shining. And we’re here for every scary bit of it.
Doctor Sleep, the highly anticipated sequel to The Shining, continues the story of Danny Torrance as an adult, taking place about 40 years after his father’s death at the Overlook Hotel. Torrance (Ewan McGregor) is still haunted by ghosts from his past, and struggles to find courage in the face of new challenges and villains that arise. Rebecca Ferguson plays one of those villains, a character named Rose the Hat, who leads a band of traveling gypsies that devour the souls of children who possess the supernatural potential known as “the shine.”
Director Mike Flanagan comes into this project as a horror veteran, having directed movies like Ouija: Origin of Evil, Oculus and the Netflix adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Gerald’s Game. In an exclusive interview with People CHICA, Flanagan reflects on how he approached the film franchise, which began in 1980 with Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of King’s book. “I saw The Shining when I was way too young to see The Shining,” Flanagan says. “So when I read Doctor Sleep for the first time, all the images in my head were basically the images from the Kubrick film. That is the movie I was excited to make.”
Flanagan dutifully unites elements of Kubrick’s film with the literary characters of King, and delivers a satisfying film that’s full of redrum-flavored Easter eggs; there’s also a chilling return to the Overlook.
When the original Shining film was released, King was famously less than pleased by Kubrick’s retelling. Flanagan acknowledges the difficulty of intertwining all the narratives: “We’re pulling from not only Doctor Sleep the novel but from the Shining film, the Shining book. Trying to kind of pull them all together is a lot to juggle.” He seems to have succeeded though, because this time around, King approves.
Doctor Sleep hits theaters this Friday.