If you know me, you know that this article was coming. In fact, you all should be surprised it wasn’t already posted by the time this one will be.
Before we even talk about the trailer, let me educate the uninformed. Mike Flanagan is one of my favourite working filmmakers. He understands horror at a core level – and then allows you to empathize with his characters through proper drama. Why do horror films work better than others? Simple, because you care about the characters. The villain or our heroes. In some slasher series (take a stab at any really), by the end of their franchises, it becomes less and less about an on-going hero (with some exceptions), and more and more about a hero. We don’t go to see any Friday The 13th films except to see Jason kill some teenagers. We do go see any of the Scream films, or the recent sequel to 1978’s Halloween, Halloween. I know, names for movies are strange. But that’s what works best with Flanagan. You care about his characters.
Take a look at Oculus, we care about the brother-sister dynamic until it hurts to watch anymore. The ending of the film is an utter gut-punch, but if we didn’t care about either of them, you wouldn’t care about the ending.
I’ve written about Flanagan before, and his work before and I will continue to do so as he continues to surprise and wow me. Each film feels like a continuation and yet a whole new project. You can feel and see the evolution as he goes from Hush to Gerald’s Game to the perfection that is Haunting of Hill House. And that doesn’t just mean his cast that he carries over from film to film. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Ouija: Origin of Evil is a milestone in horror films. A movie should not be as wonderfully charming yet scary when the first film (which technically is a sequel since Origin is a prequel) is nearly unwatchable.
That’s one part of the equation. For the second, we need to talk about The Shining. One of the greatest horror films – and greatest in general – of all time. Yes, Kubrick made an adaptation that wasn’t close to King’s version, but as a film, it works effortlessly. A film that traumatized me when I saw it for the first time when I was ten. A film that had only moments appear in Ready Player One that scared me when I saw it on an IMAX screen. A film that I’ve seen more times than I can remember, but after seeing it on the big screen still latches onto me like it did before. King wrote a sequel and it was praised fairly highly. And ever since, we wondered would there be a film adaptation? The idea of a sequel is tantalizing. It could go wrong in so many ways, but you just need the right director at the helm. And I’m pretty sure they found the right director.
So let’s look at the trailer for Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep.
Okay, let’s dive in. First off, yes. There are direct references to the original film – which means it’s going to be different from the source material considering that the Doctor Sleep novel is a sequel to the book The Shining, not the film The Shining. This confusion isn’t new to Kubrick fans. While 2001: A Space Odyssey was based on the novel of the same name from Arthur C. Clarke, the novel’s sequel (2010: Odyssey Two) is a sequel to Kubrick’s film, not his own novel.
It’s worth mentioning that all the clips that you believe are from The Shining aren’t actually from The Shining, except the elevator of blood. That was from the original. But the rest of Danny, the twins, Room 237, it’s all new footage. Which could make sense, maybe we will see some moments from Danny’s and not Jack’s perspective. I’m not sure about anything plot-wise from the book. In fact, I tried to buy the novel about an hour before trying to write this, but it turns out their last copy was stolen. So maybe it’s best to go in blind for the film.
Regardless, this film comes out in November – fairly soon after It: Chapter Two. I am extremely excited as if you couldn’t tell. Or the number of words I’ve written just to explain that I am excited hasn’t proven it yet.
November 8th. I will be there opening day – if I can’t see it earlier that is. Has this trailer owned you like it does me? This is just the teaser, can you imagine the actual trailer?