First reactions are pouring in for writer/director Mike Flanagan’s Stephen King adaptation “Doctor Sleep,” which Warner Bros. releases on November 8. The film is an adaptation of King’s 2013 novel of the same name, which serves as a sequel to “The Shining,” here following grown-up Danny (Ewan McGregor) in his attempts to build a normal life in the shadow of everything that went down at the Overlook. (To recap: While serving as caretaker at a freaky hotel in the Rockies, his failed-writer father fell off the wagon, became terrorized by ghosts real or imagined, and tried to slaughter his entire family with an axe as if to fulfill some prophecy left behind the last caretaker, whose specter ghoulishly haunts the halls.)
Below, IndieWire has rounded up first impressions of the movie, which also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Carl Lumbly, and Alex Essoe. In the new film, things get complicated for McGregor’s adult Danny when he meets a young girl who shares his psychic gifts while working at a hospice center.
With #DoctorSleepMovie, Mike Flanagan delivers the best parts of Kubrick and King in one movie.
It made me feel silly for wanting to step back into The Overlook, instead of stepping forward from The Shining with Danny.
Rebecca is an instant icon, and Ewan completely nails it. pic.twitter.com/7Szfq2iRlG
— Andrew Dyce (@andrewbdyce) 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
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
#DoctorSleep works best when it’s sticking to Stephen King’s novel. The moment it starts trying to recreate elements of Kubrick’s SHINING, it stumbles a bit. Still, Flanagan nails the emotional elements (no surprise there). And Rebecca Ferguson owns the entire movie.
— Chris EvangelistAHHH!!! (@cevangelista413) October 25, 2019
Doctor Sleep is the best Stephen King adaption since Shawshank Redemption. Mike Flanagan has perfectly combined nostalgia with tension, mystery, and suspense. The entire cast is superb. There are a number of surprises that will make King fans squeal with delight. #DoctorSleep pic.twitter.com/PhSDm6EZsZ
— Scott Menzel (@TheOtherScottM) October 25, 2019
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
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
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
#DoctorSleep is The Shining sequel King fans have been waiting for. Kyliegh Curran is a star in the making & Rebecca Ferguson is downright terrifying. Flanagan beautifully meshes Danny Torrance’s haunting past w/ the now present, resulting in the best King adaptation of the year pic.twitter.com/g3iEOt7iyG
— Samhain 🎃🍭 (@shannon_mcgrew) October 25, 2019
I watched #DoctorSleep on Monday. I was completely floored by how @flanaganfilm was able to tie the book to The Shining universe that already exists on screen. Fans will be surprised by this movie — in a good way. So many little details that will make Constant Readers giddy! pic.twitter.com/N4Vw9QudQa
— John SaaV’Ger 🇨🇴 (@johnsjr9) October 25, 2019
Director Flanagan, who brought a chilly elegance to Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” series and directed the films “Oculus” and “Hush,” has been slavishly recreating not only the sets from Kubrick’s film, but also its iconic moments — as reported in recent interviews. Flanagan, much like the motley gaggle of overthinkers depicted in the “Shining” documentary “Room 237,” reportedly spent days analyzing and obsessing over every frame of Kubrick’s film in preparation for “Doctor Sleep.”
A tonic for tired times, Flanagan previously said he would honor Kubrick’s lack of jump scares in “Doctor Sleep.” “We used a lot of the lessons that Kubrick taught us about how to do a psychological thriller,” the director said, “in a way that is more about suffocating atmosphere and tension than it ever is about the kind of traditional scares as we understand them today.”