BY: Rohn Romulo
“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep” continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and newcomer Kyliegh Curran star in the season’s major horror event, directed by Mike Flanagan, from his own screenplay based upon the novel by Stephen King.
Rarely has a tale of family dysfunction entered the modern consciousness as shockingly or as completely as that of the Torrances, the father, mother and son at the center of Stephen King’s third novel, The Shining.
Originally published in 1977, the book went on to sell more than a million copies. Inspired by the author’s personal struggles, along with a fateful night King spent in room 217 of the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the story of Jack, Wendy and Danny Torrance is one of King’s most personal works—terrifying not because of the monsters that live alongside us, but for the real-life demons that dwell within all of us.
Thirty-six years later, King published his follow-up novel, Doctor Sleep, the continuation of the story of Dan Torrance. Although both are studies in horror and suspense, The Shining takes readers on a journey through the darkness of addiction, while Doctor Sleep brings them back to the light through recovery, self-sacrifice and redemption.
Filmmaker Mike Flanagan has been a self-proclaimed fan(atic) of King’s work since fifth grade, when he picked up his first book by the author. Flanagan says, “I was way too young, but boy did I start reading them. Those books frightened me like I’ve never been scared before and completely changed the way that I look at the world. That started this experience that I’ve had with so much of King’s writing: as a very scared kid, reading his work taught me how to be brave in short bursts. It became an exercise in character. I became a constant reader and struggled my way, somehow, into a career where people pay me to make movies, which is still crazy to me.”
(Watch Director Mike Flanagan explain his fascination with Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick in the film’s featurette Connecting the Worlds)
“Doctor Sleep brought back a lot of the themes from the novel of The Shining that didn’t make it into the film,” Flanagan continues, “specifically the focus on addiction to the degree that King took it, along with the notes of redemption. My initial impression was, ‘I love this story.’ I loved the three characters, Dan, Abra and Rose the Hat. I loved the contradictions between The Shining and Doctor Sleep: addiction and recovery; encroaching ice and fire. He took so many wonderful elements from the first book and let them grow into something entirely new.
Flanagan knew that there was one vital step imperative to the livelihood of the project, the go-ahead that mattered most: Stephen King. The horror master was initially skeptical. But once the filmmaker was able to fully present his audacious take on the project, blending the published word with the cinematic legacy—in essence, giving King the resolution he felt was missing from Kubrick’s vision—the author enthusiastically signed on.
Stephen King says, “I always tell people the difference between Stanley Kubrick’s movie and my book is his movie ended in ice and my book ended in fire. But, by taking Dan Torrance’s story as a grown-up and filtering it through his own, apparently large heart, Mike has been able to take the Kubrick movie a step further, so that it warms things up. Mike’s film does two things. It is a fine adaptation of Doctor Sleep, but it is also a terrific sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s movie ‘The Shining.’ Mike has worked in a universe where some of the things that happened in ‘The Shining’ movie didn’t happen in my book…and has somehow been able to make it work.”
In Philippine cinemas Thursday, November 07, “Doctor Sleep” is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures, a WarnerMedia Company. Use the hashtag #DoctorSleepMovie
About “Doctor Sleep”
In “Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep,” Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) is still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, but has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the “shine.” Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.
Forming an unlikely alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose. Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before—at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of the past.