Ready to head back to The Overlook? A sequel to The Shining sure sounds like a bad idea, both on the page and the screen, but Stephen King defied the odds with his 2013 followup novel Doctor Sleep, which follows a grown-up Danny Torrance battling the same rage and addiction issues as his father until his life crosses paths with a young girl who has a “Shine” that might be even more powerful than his own.
Now, The Haunting of Hill House and Gerald’s Game filmmaker Mike Flanagan has adapted the sequel for the screen, which means he has to bring King’s story to life in a way that honors the author’s vision while living in the legacy of Stanley Kubrick‘s iconic 1980 The Shining adaptation. So did they pull it off?
Doctor Sleep is heading to theaters next month and the latest King adaptation has already screened for select fans and critics. With the social embargo released, the first reactions are hitting the web and the word is good. Admittedly, that’s usually the case with these early screening reactions, but I had the chance to catch the film at the junket last week and can confirm that, yes, the film is Good Actually. The review embargo is still on so that’s all I can say about that here, but you can check out my thoughts and those of many others in the tweets below, and stay tuned for our chat with Flanagan.
#DoctorSleep is another trauma-fuelled emotional horror from Flanagan that made me ugly cry in public. Understandably shakes up the book quite a bit, but keeps King's heart right where it needs to be. Where does one sign up for Rebecca Ferguson's cult? Asking for a friend. pic.twitter.com/Jfs2FggiPf
— Haleigh Foutch (@HaleighFoutch) October 25, 2019
It’s been a great yr for Stephen King adaptations but I think #DoctorSleep is the best of the bunch. Thrilled me in ways I wasn’t expecting, made me emotional at times & Rebecca Ferguson is ferocious. What a wonderful celebration of Kubrick, King & @flanaganfilm’s career as well. pic.twitter.com/jQ8ktEeUVE
— Heatherface Wixson (@thehorrorchick) October 25, 2019
#DoctorSleep works best when it's sticking to Stephen King's novel. The moment it starts trying to recreate elements of Kubrick's SHINING, it stumbles a bit. Still, Flanagan nails the emotional elements (no surprise there). And Rebecca Ferguson owns the entire movie.
— Chris EvangelistAHHH!!! (@cevangelista413) October 25, 2019
#DoctorSleep is The Shining sequel King fans have been waiting for. Kyliegh Curran is a star in the making & Rebecca Ferguson is downright terrifying. Flanagan beautifully meshes Danny Torrance's haunting past w/ the now present, resulting in the best King adaptation of the year pic.twitter.com/g3iEOt7iyG
— Shannon McGrew 🎃🍭 (@shannon_mcgrew) October 25, 2019
Doctor Sleep is the best Stephen King adaption since Shawshank Redemption. Mike Flanagan has perfectly combined nostalgia with tension, mystery, and suspense. The entire cast is superb. There are a number of surprises that will make King fans squeal with delight. #DoctorSleep pic.twitter.com/PhSDm6EZsZ
— Scott Menzel (@TheOtherScottM) October 25, 2019
#DoctorSleep is an IMMENSELY satisfying and PERFECTLY adapts the tone of Kings book. An adult psycho-drama with an abundance of emotionally satisfying and crowd pleasing thrills, watch on the biggest screen and as many times humanly possible!
— Christophe Aguilar de Travestão (2018-2018) (@ItsChrisAguilar) October 25, 2019
There are some third act issues, but the great performances, amazing visuals, and very clear reverence for both King and Kubrick's Shinings totally carry it. pic.twitter.com/GZTL5IzqYz
— Tom Jorgensen (@Tom_Jorgensen) October 25, 2019
Really enjoyed #DoctorSleep, and it's not JUST because I love Rebecca Ferguson, but… it's not insignificant. Feels very King & Flanagan-y; horror reflected through family trauma. Fans of Flanagan's Haunting of Hill House will love it.
— Rebecca Pahle (@RebeccaPahle) October 25, 2019
#DoctorSleep is a good movie but didn’t WOW me like writer/director Mike Flanagan’s previous work. It does have some pretty interesting moments. My full review will be up next Wednesday at @CreepyKingdom
— From Dusk Till John (@TheRealJohnny_D) October 25, 2019
As a huge fan of Kubrick's The Shining, King's books & Mike Flanagan, I'm giddy that Doctor Sleep is seriously GREAT. It's an excellent & faithful adaptation that makes smart changes — especially melding the '80 film & the sequel book — and the casting/performances are phenomenal pic.twitter.com/tvkDt3jonJ
— Evil Eric Eisenberg (@eeisenberg) October 25, 2019
@flanaganfilm’s #DoctorSleep reaches back into THE SHINING’s past to tell a deeply relatable drama about family, addiction & grief that just happens to also be a great scary movie. And one of 2019’s best films.
— Phil Pirrello (@PhilPirrello) October 25, 2019
#DoctorSleep somehow does justice to both King and Kubrick while perfectly fitting into Flanagan's already impressive, somber-creepy catalog. It runs on the heart of its characters and their plight. And Rebecca Ferguson's Rose the Hat is poised to be a new horror icon. pic.twitter.com/aq3jcgupwc
— Dyle M for Murderson (@FunctionalNerd) October 25, 2019
I -loved- #DoctorSleep, such a brilliant love letter to Kubrick's original, unafraid to be both thrilling and entirely worshipful of what came before. Equal parts nostalgia and axing it's own path, not unlike the (underloved) 2010, it's my most surprising gem of 2019. pic.twitter.com/328Kp2jtlH
— Jason Gorber (@filmfest_ca) October 25, 2019
Rebecca Ferguson is also terrifying as Rose the Hat. She steals much of the film, and she really gets under your skin. Honestly, this may be one of my favorite @StephenKing adaptations EVER. It’s just haunting, beautiful, and fun. Check it out, guys! #DoctorSleep @flanaganfilm pic.twitter.com/FikXobnuao
— PJ Campbell (@pj_campbell) October 25, 2019
Doctor Sleep is a well crafted, very creepy and often scary thriller that cleverly recreates moments and sets from The Shining. The cast is great, especially young Kyliegh Curran. Definitely a big thumbs up for the film from me. pic.twitter.com/EJvuMaMPTc
— My Halloween Name Is Jim Vejvoda (@JimVejvoda) October 25, 2019
DOCTOR SLEEP: The boldest choice here is that Mike Flanagan doesn't even try to do Kubrick. He makes a Mike Flanagan movie: spooky, emotional, ultimately optimistic. Not only a sequel to THE SHINING, but a response to it, an attempt to reconcile King and Kubrick. Loved it.
— Jacob Hall (@JacobSHall) October 25, 2019
I really, really loved #DoctorSleep. @flanaganfilm is a master and one of the greatest adapters of King’s material. Somehow manages to do the novel, King’s original novel for #TheShining and Kubrick’s adaptation justice all at once. Scary, thrilling and very sad. See it ASAP. pic.twitter.com/UTLavlhNzL
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) October 25, 2019
In DOCTOR SLEEP, which I quite liked, Rebecca Ferguson's truly evil villain has a crustpunk carnie aesthetic and let me tell you…it works
— Esther Zuckerman (@ezwrites) October 25, 2019