'Doctor Sleep' Looks Like a Love Letter to Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick

Set several decades after Jack Torrance went mad in the Overlook Hotel, Doctor Sleep sees an adult Danny (Ewan McGregor), an alcoholic struggling to suppress his gift of the shining, share a telepathic link with a girl, Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), whose life draws him into a nightmare created by a cult of psychic vampires led by the mysterious Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson).

But if anyone can find a way to reconcile these three occasionally dueling visions of terror, it’s Mike Flanagan who, against all odds, found a way to faithfully adapt King’s Gerald’s Game and reimagine Shirley Jackson’s masterpiece The Haunting of Hill House for a new age.

From carpet patterns and splintered door frames to elevators gushing blood and those final notes of Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind’s haunting score, the trailer contains many references to Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation.

King has gone on record many a time, as recently as this year, to speak about his displeasure with Kubrick’s film, a rarity for the author who has either refrained from being overly critical or enthusiastically embraced adaptations of his work.

While the film is perhaps more interested in aesthetics, and broad meanings concerning Native Americans, the moon landing and the foundations of our nation, the subject of Rodney Ascher’s documentary Room 237 (2012), are still up for debate.

The distinct styles of Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, and Mike Flanagan may be the perfect union to provide a definitive look at a story founded in the deeply personal and historically horrific.

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