Doctor Sleep is starting to wake up. CinemaCon has been happening all day, but the big exhibitors' convention waited until the late evening to bring out the big guns. The Warner Bros. presentation is happening in Las Vegas, where they first showed off a sneak peek at director Todd Phillips' Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as DC's iconic clown prince. Next up was Stephen King's sequel to The Shining. And the new thriller apparently has quite a few callbacks to the Stanley Kubrick classic.
There are some very strong links to The Shining in the first couple of minutes from Doctor Sleep that were previewed. Warner Bros. is keeping any and all secrets about the Mike Flanagan adaptation on lockdown. But those in attendance did get a first look at Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance, the young boy from The Shining who is all grown up now.
In the sequel, Danny is attempting to deal with past trauma, but continues to struggle with the memories buried in his brain from childhood. A scene shows Torrance stumbling in the dark. He catches a glimpse in the mirror. And there it is. The ominous, iconic vision. 'Redrum'. Murder spelled backwards, an iconic staple from Kubrick's classic horror tale based on the novel by Stephen King. In the featurette shown to the exhibitors in attendance, Ewan McGregor had this to say.
"As a child he went through a terrible experience, and he's trying to figure out how he's going to deal with this Shine."
The Shine refers to Danny's supernatural ability to communicate telepathically. As the footage continues to spool on, we see Danny touching palms with a character believed to be Abra Stone. Those who have read Doctor Sleep know that Abra and Danny both share similar Shine powers. They will need these powers to battle a group of demonic child killers known as the True Knot. They are led by Rose the Hat, who is being played by Rebecca Ferguson.
In another scene shown to the Las Vegas crowd, Rose the Hat is shown walking on the roof of what appears to be her trailer home. There are quick glimpses of the other True Knot members in a junk yard. They are hunting down their young prey.
Warner Bros. used the creepy theme from The Shining, draping it gloriously over the images they were showing off. Fans of the original movie will feel quite nostalgic when they see it for themselves, if the filmmakers decide to continue using the music when it comes time to sell the movie to the masses.
The story behind Stephen King's original sequel book follows Danny in his 40s, which matches up with the actual timeline of Kubrick's masterwork. Torrance is faced with battling the same demons his father dealt with back at the Overlook Hotel. The book was first published in 2013, and it sounds like the movie version will follow the story closely. Doctor Sleep will arrive in theaters just before the holiday season kicks off this year, hitting screens on November 8. It will be a nice Thanksgiving experience to share with your entire family, especially if they're getting under your skin.