Doctor Sleep, Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel novel to The Shining, has an impossibly high pedigree to live up to in the form of Kubrick’s The Shining adaptation, one of the best horror films ever made. So how did he do?
Well, the early embargo is up and impressions are beginning to trickle in on the Twitterverse. That’s what they call it, right? And they’re promising! Critics are calling the movie one of the best King adaptations in ages, if not ever. Exciting.
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
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
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
Fans of #TheShining are really gonna love #DoctorSleep. It's at its best when its fueled by follow-up. Starts slowly and descends into madness, just like its predecessor. One specific scene is really horrifying, some solid scares, and good performances across the board. pic.twitter.com/NnHcq1ia8Q
— Brandon Davis (@BrandonDavisBD) October 25, 2019
#DoctorSleepMovie: A hallucinogenic horrorscape, @flanaganfilm channels King’s waking nightmares & familial trauma artfully. Crafts visceral, disquieting dread not too dissimilar to Kubrick’s masterpiece. McGregor & Ferguson give perfectly pitched performances.@DoctorSleepFilm pic.twitter.com/IF6YJhDBTz
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) October 25, 2019
Brilliant, disturbing, impressive, clever, emotional, surprising, a visual delight... but enough about me. #DoctorSleep is great, peeps. But bloody graphic with the violence in parts and very upsetting but so well done. I can see why Stephen King and team Kubrick approve. pic.twitter.com/tSHco2MZZi
— Amanda in the Woods (@filmvsbook) 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
And it turns out, it’s not just the critics who were impressed, as the embargo lifting also gave Stephen King himself a chance to endorse the movie, which is not something he’s always inclined to do.
DOCTOR SLEEP: Mike Flanagan is a talented director, but he’s also an excellent storyteller. The movie is a good thing. You’ll like this if you liked THE SHINING, but you’ll also like it if you liked SHAWSHANK. It’s immersive.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 23, 2019
Considering King’s own ambivalent history with Kubrick’s adaptation of his work, which this movie is in part a response to, that’s quite an intriguing endorsement indeed. The full reviews aren’t in yet, but I’ll be eager to read more about the film when they are, and to maybe take a look at it when it finally drops. King fans, this might be the one to get excited about.