One of the most prolific authors when it comes to the sheer volume of film adaptations based on their work is the master of horror, Stephen King. And lately, writer/director Mike Flanagan has been not only a highly regarded purveyor of that same genre, but he’s also been known to work with King’s material rather well.
Which makes the unveiling of today’s trailer for Doctor Sleep all the more exciting, as ever since his announcement as the writer/director on the sequel to The Shining, we’ve been wondering what sort of magic he’d weave. Wonder no longer, courtesy of the trailer below:
Set decades after The Shining took place, Doctor Sleep sees Ewan McGregor playing the role of a grown up Danny Torrance. Still imbued with the powers of “The Shine”, Danny has followed his father Jack’s footsteps into alcohol dependence, while using his gifts to help comfort the dying before they pass on.
But he’ll need to sober up if he’s to perform a greater duty: defending others with his very same gift. For you see, other children with that special Shine are being snatched up by the insidious True Knot cult, run by Rebecca Ferguson’s Rose the Hat.
One of those children, Abra Stone (played by Kyliegh Curran), has reached out to Danny, through a chalkboard we see in the Doctor Sleep trailer. What begins as a series of innocuous messages leads to one very familiar one: “Redrum.” It isn’t long before we’re treated to flashes of imagery very familiar to Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick fans, as scenes from The Shining start to suggest that this new chapter will lean heavily on Danny’s memories of the events that transpired at the Overlook Hotel.
And capping it all off, after all of the scenes of peril cause by the Top Knot cult, and Danny offering some initial wisdom to Abra, is a new spin on an old image. As we see Ewan McGregor’s character walking down the very familiar, decrepit halls of his childhood haunt, his face comes into frame within a very familiar opening.
Looking into the bathroom he and his mother once cowered in for protection from a crazed Jack Torrance, Danny’s face lines up with the hole in the door his father carved out with an axe, and the trailer cuts to the film’s title. As the words Doctor Sleep appear on the screen, we hear Wendy Carlos’ infamous theme to The Shining playing, firmly tying the past to the future.
How exactly Doctor Sleep walks the path of a faithful literary adaptation, while still operating as something that can coexist with Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining (a film Stephen King has more than once gone on record as disliking), is yet to be seen. But what we do see is that Mike Flanagan has delivered what could be the horror event of the year, and Warner Bros’ enthusiasm that lead to the film’s released date getting bumped to an earlier, prime slot is more than warranted.
In addition to today's trailer for Doctor Sleep, we also got a simple, but evocative teaser poster that alludes to that chilling message that Danny sees on his chalkboard, straight out of his Shining childhood. Take a look for yourself, as that poster is shared below.