Doctor Sleep Director Says His New Stephen King Adaptation Is Dark And Cynical

Stephen King

Mike Flanagan is one of the best horror directors working today and his most recent directorial effort, Doctor Sleep, is getting a second life after arriving on HBO Max this past week. A sequel to The Shining, the film performed poorly at the box office last year despite strong reviews and marked Flanagan’s second Stephen King adaptation after doing Gerald’s Game for Netflix. His next project, meanwhile, is also from the iconic writer.

He’s adapting the 2014 novel Revival and while appearing on The Kingcast, the director was able to confirm that he’s done with the first draft and that the story is bleaker than anything he’s produced before.

“What I love about it is it’s a return to cosmic horror which I think is so fun,” Flanagan said. “It is relentlessly dark and cynical and I’m enjoying the hell out of that. I think a lot of King’s work is like this too, there’s a safety in the sentimental approach to a lot of those stories and this is just bleak and mean and I like it for that. I haven’t gotten to end a movie that way since, geez, Absentia maybe? Maybe Ouija?”

Flanagan also shared that he indeed reads reviews for all of his work and that a common theme among critics is that he’s perhaps too “sentimental” or “emotional” with his endings. Because of this, he’s apparently having a lot of fun with this material because it gives him a chance to show them something different.

“This one was a really fun piece of material for me because I get to be like ‘Oh you want a dark ending? Cool, get ready.’”

The director has already built quite the career in horror and has been working consistently for the past decade. Some of his other efforts include Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil (one of the few sequels better than the original) and the terrific Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House.

Mike Flanagan isn’t done there, though. He also has more projects in development including an adaptation of the Christopher Pike book The Midnight Club and a series called Midnight Mass, which centers around a small community on a remote island who begin to experience strange occurrences after the arrival of a mysterious young priest.