The screening of the 2013 novel by the American writer Stephen King, “Dr. Sleep” (“Doctor Sleep”), the sequel to the novel “The Shining”), will come out on film screens in Latvia on November 8. In the performance of director Mike Flanagan, it’s Kering’s rebellion against the original film of “The Miracle,” directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, of course.
The film comes out in Halovin in Britain, which is a very decent time to show one of the year’s most anticipated performances of the horror genre. By taking advantage of my cinema student, I’ve just as accidentally won a special ticket to “Dr. Sleep” a special, pre-departure impression. After a daily big-city run, I arrive at Warner Bros. ‘s specialized industrial cinema, where I find out that it will be accompanied by Q & A (Question & Answer Section), in which the film director Mike Flanagan and the film “Dr. Sleep” producer Trevor Meisy will talk to us, mostly students of London cinema schools. I’ve met Flanagan’s writing before, mostly on the streaming site “The Haunting of Hill House”, but along with the director’s past performance, another Kering expectation for “Gerald’s Game,” the director’s skills in horror films have been proven. Walking inside the hall, one of the Warner Bros. “employees ask me, “Are you ready for a nearly three-hour cinematic adventure?” The lights in the grass, slowly and cinematic in a beautiful spirit, I know I’m certain, but I don’t know what to expect. I guess I want to feel something like Kubrick’s 1980 “Shine,” but I hope to see something of Flanagan’s dark, supernatural elements of “The Haunting of Hill House.”
“Dr. Sleep” returns to Danny Thorens, the little boy we last saw in horror scenes at the Overlook Hotel. Danny has survived the danger and escape from his past search for alcohol. It also touches on a general issue often seen in King’s novels – is it really for children who experience horror in childhood to grow into dysfunctional adults? We also watched this in the last year’s cash ditch, “It Chapter Two”. The protagonist of the film “Dr. Sleep” is Abra (Kaily Karen), a young girl who has a glimmer. Her paths intersect with Denny, with whom she could face the Endmost knot, the movie’s central villains, who, to bring immortality to life, live on the glitter that is sucked out of the children and what they call “steam.”
I was ready to fear, experience horrific moments, but in the course of the story, we are presented with images more like the archetypes of superhero films than a sequel worthy of a classic horror thriller. This reverses the narrative analysis of the story of Russian folklorist Vladimir Propp, which is the basis for a number of superhero films and is central to the choices of the protagonist who develops the plot. In “Doctor Sleep,” it moves slowly – Danny goes into an adventure that confronts the ghosts and villains of the past, and the film turns into a real “good versus evil” fight. A one-dimensional villain, the leader of the Persistent Megzl, Rosa Hete (Rebecca Ferguson), has disappeared somewhere between a witch and a hippie without becoming a highly intimidating image, especially given that she spends a lot of time simply meditating. Even Ferguson’s masterful interplay can’t convincingly create an image worthy of a horror film. It seems that if the film divorced a couple of bloody scenes and its “16 +” age limit, it could position its audience in a successful horror fantasy genre for young people. A younger audience could identify with Abel, the protagonist, the wiry girl, but generations who grew up with the “The Shining” film – with her newly acquired, older friend Danny. Yet the film doesn’t qualify for it, and the friendship between the two major images is to Hollywood. The dialogues seem to be balancing occasionally between clichés and even childish ones. It is very likely that as an audience we have become more selective, it is more difficult to surprise us, especially in the genres of horrors.
Yet the “Doctor Sleep” villains don’t stand close to the original, family-driven grisly events at the Overlook Hotel and, of course, Jack Nicolson’s performance. Danny’s alcohol problem in this story is a more important, more human ghost of the past than the Overlook Hotel occupiers who get out of the 1980 s. The film of the moment also seems more long, as if the director had succeeded in trying to reconstruct the original, but the viewers have already figured out what was going on (we’re in a movie of superheroes!). As a result, the script develops slowly, presenting us even with seemingly unneeded images whose sub-sections are supposed to remain in the novel, because they fragment the film and stretch it for two and a half hours.
The most interesting part of the impression is, of course, Q & A time. Flanagan and Trevor come to the front of the small cinema hall where most places are occupied by cinema students. It’s important to mention here what happened before King’s “Doctor Sleep” was created and picked. Stanley Kubrick’s “Mirrors” has a special place in cinema history studios, and was called instant classics at the time, yet the film, popular among fans of horror movies, was disliked by the book’s author, Stephen King. He called the film ecranisation empty (I had recently listened to the podcasts dedicated to Ian Roth’s horror cinema, in which King compared the expectation of Kubrick’s “Shine” to a beautiful old car that couldn’t be driven with) and didn’t admit it. Several years later, King tried to create his own TV version, which did not stand close to the original.
Flanagan admits that this history was taken into account and, in shaping “Dr. Sleep,” he wanted to link Kubrick’s cinematic image with the sequel of Kering’s novel and create something that both sides acknowledge. “I grew up in childhood with Kering’s novels, “the director tells the Q & A session, “and the possibility of exchanging some of his novels at the time was unthinkable and seemed like a complete dream.” Producer Trevor Meisey jokingly tells the story of how hard it had been to make a film that many would compare to the original and “written off” by understanding their fundamental differences. “Actually, “Flanagan adds,” the fact that, when we made the film, we realized and realized that at least half of it wouldn’t like it, made the job easier, at least for me. As fans of the genre, we were aware of our position, being in the shadows of King and Kubrick, but we tried to honor both, knowing that there would be intrigue and criticism – it would never be possible to satisfy both sides.” Predictable is the director’s choice to work directly with the trusted operator Michael Fimognari (“The Haunting of Hill House”), who reconstructs Kubrick scenes in a much darker way, assigning “Dr. Sleep” his own, individual handwriting, compared with the 1980’s “Mirrors.”
Possibly because there are cinema students sitting in the room, Flanagan is happy to share his cinema career without a special invitation. I noticed in the title that Flanagan was not only the director of “Dr. Sleep,” but also the assembly director. In that position, he spent 10 years dating executive producer Trevor and working in Los Angeles, assembling reality TV shows. This has enabled him to think in the frames that have helped in the mooring, and the “back” of this assembly also appears in the masterful sound design of “Doctor Sleep,” which weaves into his world of horror. On the question of why the filmmakers didn’t want to re-use the original cast of actors, they admit it was complicated, in addition to the “Overlook” hotel having to stay where it had been abandoned 40 years ago. The ensemble of actors we saw in Kubrick’s film has already said good-bye to “The Wrink.” Jack Nicolson, for example, has retired, but Danny Lloyd, the actor who plays young Danny in Kubrick’s film, did not pursue his childhood career, and now works as a teacher. He nonetheless temporarily joined “Dr. Sleep” in a small role of “cameo” — viewers can keep their eyes open.
When I leave the Warner Bros. movie theater, I feel elated – perhaps I have been encouraged by the story of the director and producer Q & A, perhaps the special atmosphere, and Flanagan’s overly motivating speech to the students, but nevertheless, I want to believe that this feeling has been caused by the enjoyment of the film and I have fulfilled my initial desire to return to Kubrick’s classics for a moment. “Dr. Sleep” is a story of good versus evil, but simpler and more complicated, but clearly more Hollywood, which, although unparalleled with Kubrick’s 1980 s classics, is a pleasure in the genre of horror. Its weak point is a large amount of individual handwriting, its excessive number of sub-sections and images, which, in an attempt to lead to a solution and as if trying to create something original, disappear into an effort to satisfy all sides and get stuck somewhere between King, Kubrick, and Flanagan.