If there’s one thing Stephen King hates, it’s adaptations of his work making huge deviations from the source material, which is why he’s one of the very few people who prefers the 1997 miniseries of The Shining to Stanley Kubrick’s classic movie, because it’s more faithful to the book. Who wrote screenplay to the three-episode event? Stephen King, of course.
The author was a lot more receptive to Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep, though, even if he found it a little too gruesome for his personal tastes. Expectations were high for the long-awaited follow up given that Flanagan is established as one of horror’s premiere auteurs coming straight off the back of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, but the movie ended up bombing at the box office and failing to turn a profit after earning $72 million on a $45 million budget.
That torpedoed any plans for a sequel Flanagan sounded excited to get around to, but Doctor Sleep did gain an almost instant level of cult appreciation, although it was too little too late. The three-hour Director’s Cut saw it trending worldwide once the extended edition dropped on HBO Max, and now the regular theatrical version is posting a strong showing on Netflix.
Doctor Sleep has just entered the platform’s Top 20 most-watched list, and while a slow-burning 152-minute tale of permanent lurching and existential dread isn’t going to be for everyone, Ewan McGregor‘s quietly nuanced performance has to be ranked as one of the better performances the actor has ever delivered in his career. Stephen King and horror are always big business, so don’t rule out the supernatural chiller climbing even higher up the charts as we get deeper into the week.