Listen to our Doctor Sleep discussion in Episode 60 on iTunes (or your favorite streaming platform)
DOCTOR SLEEP, the sequel to Stephen King’s THE SHINING, is on its way, opening in theaters November 8, 2019. We are beginning to see the marketing campaign unfold as teaser posters and trailers appear in the world. The film is directed by Mike Flanagan, the brains behind Netflix’s HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and GERALD’S GAME, ABSENTIA and OCULUS. Flanagan nabbed Ewan McGregor to portray the adult Danny Torrance, damaged and tormented by his past and his ‘shining.’ McGregor is great at being tormented. Flanagan brings a lot of heart and emotion to his horror films and that alone sets them above many of its ilk.
The trailer leans hard into McGregor, showing him in just about every scene as he grapples with his sanity and some new ‘friends’ he has stumbled upon. It starts quietly enough with cute writing on the wall and a smiley. Most of us know already that writing on the wall can only lead to bad things…. like REDRUM. And it does with an explosion and the revelation to the audience that this is the fucking THE SHINING and Tony is in the house.
The tone is moody and grim with painstakingly recreated shots from THE SHINING sprinkled throughout. I was fooled at first thinking they were the actual scenes from the film but no, this is Flanagan going the extra mile and nailing Kubrick. The only scene used from Kubrick’s film is the infamous blood soaked elevator imagery. Scenes showing the adult Danny walking through The Overlook hotel, which has clearly seen better days, is surreal and thrilling. The trailer builds slowly and quietly, easing you into the fact that THE SHINING is being hit head on.
A distorted version of the The Mamas and the Papas, DREAM A LITTLE DREAM, is an apt choice that marries nostalgia with modern day horrors in a trailer full of these concepts. There isn’t much made of Flanagan’s name ,which is huge draw for me. But the liberal use of Kubrick and McGregor are a savvy way in for most moviegoers.
Overall, the gorgeous trailer shows great promise for this property with an A list actor, Ewan McGregor, and a horror master like Mike Flanagan at the wheel. We are going inside THE SHINING and I’m all in. A+ effort!
It is early yet, so the only posters out in the wild right now are teaser posters meaning they lack a credit block and often are more iconic.
The first poster, designed by agency, Cold Open, is type driven — we see the infamous REDRUM writing from the original film as it appears now in the current film. This layering of past and present is an ongoing theme in the promotional materials so far. What is astounding and really cool is that the studio allowed the entire poster to be created as a mirror image meaning their logos and release dates are all reversed. Bold move and shows a confidence in the film they are promoting. Not as common as you would think.
A second teaser poster, for which there is no agency credited yet, that isn’t seen as much so probably not as official as the above type concept poster includes star, Ewan McGregor. The actor is shown in black and white profile dissipating into smoke. You might be surprised how often studios veer away from using black and white in their posters because they fear the audience will assume the film is in black and white. I know, I know.
The type is also smokey and heralding back to the visual effect seen in the trailer. Ewan McGregor is the star sell, his name huge along the top and now Flanagan gets his due with an above title credit and pedigree line in partnership with Stephen King:
FROM THE MASTER OF HORROR STEPHEN KING AND DIRECTOR MIKE FLANAGAN
It should read MASTERS OF HORROR since we are essentially selling the both of them as experts in their field. But close enough. This poster gives you all the info you would probably need to see this film except for a direct connection to THE SHINING. It would seem this poster is selling the film as a stand alone to appeal to people who may not have seen Kubrick’s film. Who are these people? But, ultimately we have McGregor, King, Flanagan, Nov 8. Done deal.
The title is a tough one since it has no real connection to the original film so the marketing is working hard to inform movie goers that this is the case. You can’t really oversell THE SHINING connection when it comes to a film like this. It is THE reason to go and it would seem, from the trailer and the ‘inside’ teaser poster that you better watch THE SHINING if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t what the hell are you waiting for?