"Doctor Sleep" (Warner Bros. Pictures)

"Doctor Sleep" director on recreating Kubrick’s iconic "Shining" scenes and banning jump scares

Mike Flanagan calls his upcoming horror movie a sequel to both Stephen King's novel and Stanley Kubrick's movie

Zack Sharf
June 13, 2019 9:30PM (UTC)

This article originally appeared on IndieWire.

Earlier today, Warner Bros. debuted the first trailer for its upcoming horror movie “Doctor Sleep,” and any fans hoping the footage would contain strong ties to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” were surely not disappointed. “Doctor Sleep” is based on Stephen King’s 2013 “Shining” sequel, and the first look at the film confirmed the film adaptation will also use some of Kubrick’s most iconic shots from his 1980 “Shining” movie.

Still, director Mike Flanagan revealed (via BloodyDisgusting) that these are all recreations and not just a redux of footage form Kubrick’s film. The only image taken directly from Kubrick’s work is the shot of the bloody elevators.


“Everything else is us,” Flanagan said. “Everything else is our recreation. So I don’t want to spoil to what extent and what specific, outside of what you already got to see, what we have kind of been able to revisit form Kubrick’s world. But I can say that everything that we decided to use, our intention was always to detail and reverence, and making sure that we were doing it properly, with the hope that even the most rabid cinephiles might not be able to tell the difference with some of our frames and some of his.”

Read more IndieWire: 'Doctor Sleep' First Trailer: 'The Shining' Sequel Torments Ewan McGregor

Flanagan said his “Doctor Sleep” adaptation was made with “the full support of the Kubrick estate, who were willing to provide us with his designs.” As seen in the trailer, such shots as Danny Torrance riding down the hallways of the Overlook Hotel have been faithfully recreated to an almost chilling degree.


The director added that “Doctor Sleep” will serve as an adaptation of King’s novel that exists in “the same cinematic universe” as Kubrick’s movie. Given that King has long been outspoken about his dislike of Kubrick’s version of his beloved story, bridging the gap between the two visions of the story doesn’t sound like an easy task.

Read more IndieWire: Stanley Kubrick's Revived Minister-Turned-Safecracker Script Set As 'High-End Television Drama'

One of the big elements of Kubrick’s film that Flanagan prioritized was getting rid of the horror genre’s reliance on jump scares. As Flanagan said, “When we were developing the project and when we were talking about the metered expectations audiences have about, in particular, jump scares and startles and the pacing of those, which we’re utterly uninterested in this film, [was] I would say, ‘What’s your favorite jump scare in ‘The Shining’?”


The director continued, “There isn’t one. The same is true here. We used a lot of the lessons that Kubrick taught us about how to do a psychological thriller, a supernatural thriller, 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.”

Read more IndieWire: Debunking the Four Big Lies at the Heart of Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder Revue'


Warner Bros. will open “Doctor Sleep” in theaters November 8.

Zack Sharf

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All Salon Culture Doctor Sleep Indiewire Mike Flanagan Movies Stanley Kubrick Stephen King The Shining

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