I don’t need the shine to see one unhappy fan for the upcoming Doctor Sleep film, at least from this trailer, and that will likely be Mr. Stephen King. The author even as recently as 2014 railed on how much he hated Kubrick’s adaptation of his 1977 novel. It’s kind of a hot button, and I’m sure King would have very much appreciated if director Mike Flanagan and company used the 1997 mini-series to give us those sweet waves of nostalgia. They didn’t, however. No, they went straight for the good stuff.
The second I see that carpet pattern, I’m transported. Even using the same theme and everything just brings waves of pleasure and anticipation. Does this trailer lean almost entirely on nostalgia to sell the movie to us? Absolutely, but right now it’s in my veins, and I feel too good to care.
It can be a bit jarring, though, to cut back from the more vibrant 1980’s film to Doctor Sleep, shot in that muddy-looking modern horror style. Still, there’s some neat imagery, and Ewan McGregor looks like he’ll make a charming and personable (even with that too-damn-perfect hair) adult Danny Torrence. Flanagan also has an excellent track-record with Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House and Oculus to his name.
Doctor Sleep is based on King’s 2013 novel of the same name and follows Danny 40 years after the events of The Shining. I haven’t read the book, but the story gives me some pause. This is about a girl with the shine named Abra who seeks Danny out to help her fight off a group of people called The True Knot who feed off the shine to gain immortality. That sounds like the usual sequel convention of making the story bigger and “better” while losing the human aspects that made the original work so meaningful. To me, the synopsis makes Doctor Sleep out to be a pretty boilerplate good-versus-evil plot. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out like that. I want to remain enthusiastic about this, but using direct clips from the most iconic moments of The Shining gives it some mighty big shoes to fill.
Doctor Sleep will hit theaters on October 30, 2019.