After nearly six years of waiting, Stephen King readers have got their first look at a cinematic version of the follow-up to his legendary 1977 novel ‘The Shining’. And, after nearly forty years, fans of Stanley Kubrick’s obsessively-loved movie adaptation The Shining have been given their first taste of a sequel.
Stephen King movie adaptations are notoriously hit-or-miss. When they hit, they hit hard right into mainstream popular culture. And, when they miss, they’re incomparably bad. All signs so far seem to be pointing towards the former, though. Nobody wants to call it too soon but the first trailer has got a lot of people excited and we can see why. Here’s ten big things we learned from the first trailer for Doctor Sleep.
10 Mike Flanagan Is Injecting His Own Style
Mike Flanagan has been consistently causing a stir in the world of horror movies and TV for over eight years now. In that time, he’s written, directed, produced and edited some of the most well-loved horror movies of the past decade. Doctor Sleep marks his seventh feature-length movie since 2011 and it looks like he’s not backing away from his status as a B movie auteur.
Nobody yet thinks Flanagan will be a name that’s mentioned in the same breath as Kubrick, outside of talking about Doctor Sleep. But his movies have their own identifiable look and it’s out on full display in the trailer for Doctor Sleep. He’s already made a well-received Stephen King adaptation so we know his style works with King’s writing. Flanagan may not be the next Kubrick but he could be the next Frank Darabont.
9 It Leans Very Heavily On Stanley Kubrick’s Original Movie
It’s been known for some time that Doctor Sleep would both be an adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel to his original novel and a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s original novel. What we couldn't know for sure until the trailer dropped was just how much the distinct look of Kubrick’s movie would factor into Doctor Sleep.
What we can say for certain now is – yes, quite a bit. The production design, locations and major events of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining all feature very prominently. It’s possible even more elements from the movie could feature as crucial plot points in Doctor Sleep. It is also possible, however, that these similarities have been overplayed for early marketing and could be significantly less pronounced in the final cut of the movie.
8 Danny Torrance Is Still Afraid
We finally get to see Ewan McGregor’s take on an all-grown-up Danny Torrance and it looks like he’s still dealing with his turbulent childhood. McGregor is a very versatile actor, as fans of the Fargo TV series will attest to, and he’s clearly channeling a lot of timidness and fear with his performance of Danny.
It looks like Danny’s living alone and his only real consistent source of contact, from what we see in the trailer, is his old invisible friend Tony. From the look of things, Danny’s got a lot of reasons to be scared. Tony’s famous reverse warning literally explodes onto Danny’s wall and it seems like Danny’s going to be forced to explore his gifts in dangerous new ways.
7 There’s Literal Shining
If you were ever confused as to why the vague telepathic powers from The Shining are referred to as ‘shining’ then Doctor Sleep is here to make it clear for you. As we can see throughout the trailer, there’s an actual shine in people’s eyes. It’s not explicitly shown to be a direct result of having the so-called shining but it’s implied that there’s at least a connection.
What the exact purpose of the actual shine is is as uncertain as the extent of the shining’s power. An early synopsis confirms that there are people who want the shine for themselves and for their own reasons. It’s going to be interesting finding out just what people can do with this power and where it comes from.
6 We’re Going Back To The Overlook Hotel
It’s one of the most famous movie sets of all time. The Overlook Hotel has produced more nightmares than can be counted and its infamous corridors are coming back again to our screens.
It would seem that Danny Torrance is going to have to make more than just an emotional journey back to the events of The Shining. Via one set of means or another, it looks like he’ll have to physically go back to the place where it all went so very wrong for him all those years ago. We don’t know for sure how much of this is going to exist outside of Danny’s head yet but it’s looking like all the iconic rooms are making an appearance.
5 Rebecca Ferguson Is Not Your Friend
Rebecca Furguson has been a quickly rising star in the international movie scene for quite some time now but she’s almost always known for playing likeable, if not heroic, characters. Doctor Sleep certainly does not appear to be following that trend.
Though not typecast, Ferguson seems to be utilized very effectively by Flanagan. Danny Torrance can be seen explaining to a young girl, who also has the shine, that all the other people that Danny’s met with the gift have died. That mysterious statement is accompanied with Ferguson’s character reaching out her hand to grab a little girl before she’s held down, screaming, by a menacing group. Ferguson is downright sinister in the trailer and this could be her most memorable role to date.
4 The Set Designers Have Gone All Out
The most awe-inspiring thing in the entire trailer might very well be the meticulously recreated shots and locations from Kubrick’s The Shining. They’re so good, in fact, that many fans didn't even notice they were recreations at first. Painstaking detail was, of course, no stranger to any of Kubrick’s movies so to see that particular torch being carried forward is very fitting.
We see some of the most iconic shots from the original movie come back to life in the trailer and who knows how many more lie in wait. One of the most exciting things about Doctor Sleep is also one of the most confusing. At least, potentially so. Kubrick’s original movie was infamous for its deviation from King’s novel so the reconciliation between King and Kubrick, that Flanagan claims he’s going for, leaves Doctor Sleep open to numerous possibilities.
3 Expect A Slow And Creepy Pace
One of the most heartening similarities between the footage shown in the Doctor Sleep trailer and Kubrick’s The Shining is that they both never appear to be in any kind of rush. The Shining was, in part, so memorable because of its slow burn atmosphere and Doctor Sleep is going to need to recapture at least part of that same feeling and pace if it’s going to not get absolutely savaged by audiences and critics alike.
Flanagan has always taken the time to stop and focus on the characters for his source of horror and drama, so prepare to be as enveloped as you are creeped out.
2 Listen For The Original Score
It doesn’t really make an appearance until right at the very end when we hear the unmistakable tones of Wendy Carlos’ and Rachel Elkind’s main theme from The Shining, but the original score makes its comeback.
Again, this could just be early marketing trying to drum up whatever nostalgia it can to generate interest. But, considering how much of the rest of The Shining seems to feature in Doctor Sleep, it’s not farfetched to think we could be hearing much more of that haunting score once again in the movie theater. Whether whole sections will be used or whether it will be broken up and mixed into the Newton Brothers’ new score, remains to be seen. Or heard, rather.
1 Get Ready For Time Jumps
Judging by a lot of things – like Ewan McGregor’s facial hair and some recreated scenes from The Shining – Doctor Sleep is going to move across a large expanse of time. This won’t be anything new for Flanagan. As an editor on all of his movies, as well as a writer and director, Flanagan has made a point of incorporating jumps throughout various time periods in the same story. It’s almost a trademark at this stage.
There’s a lot to catch the audience up on with Doctor Sleep’s story so don’t be surprised if it turns out to be quite the epic saga. Don’t worry, though. If you haven’t seen Flanagan’s other movies, he’s pretty accomplished at moving effortlessly between scenes in different time periods.