Doctor Sleep review round-up (and how The Shining sequel honours our favourite carpet)

Doctor Sleep review round-up (and how The Shining sequel honours our favourite carpet)

Doctor Sleep directed by Mike Flanagan hit the big screens last week. We sat in our plush Screen on The Green cinema seats on the day of release with baited breath (and a glass of whisky served by a guy looking very much like Lloyd the bartender from The Shining) waiting to see our favourite carpet in film.

We didn’t have long to wait to see the Hicks’ Hexagon carpet (as made famous by The Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s The Shining) in all it’s retro-patterned beauty…

Danny on his tricycle in the Overlook Hotel - an exact recreation of Kubrick's The Shining
Doctor Sleep‘s Danny on his tricycle in the Overlook Hotel corridor – an exact recreation of Kubrick’s The Shining

So utterly iconic is this carpet, it’s maze of orange, red and brown hexagons are referenced in the opening titles and first scenes of Doctor Sleep, firstly as animated graphics in the opening titles and then in moving image form as we see a recreation of The Shining‘s Danny Torrance navigating the hotel corridors on his tricycle.

Nearly forty years after The Shining film of 1980 (based on Stephen King’s acclaimed book of 1977) we get the film sequel. Doctor Sleep wasn’t written by King until 2013 and is set a few decades after Jack Torrance lost his mind in the snowbound Overlook Hotel. The Doctor Sleep film sequel has attracted a lot of attention, not only because King famously didn’t like Kubrick’s vision of his acclaimed The Shining but because Director Flanagan takes us back to Kubrick’s version of the super-spooky Overlook.

Dare to Go Back

Let’s take a look at what the critics are saying about the return to The Overlook Hotel in our Doctor Sleep review round-up:-

Nicholas Barber writing for BBC Culture says: “It is different from The Shining in nearly every way. Kubrick’s film, released in 1980, was a mysterious fever dream set in one hotel over one winter. The new film, adapted by writer-director Mike Flanagan from King’s own novel, is an adventure that spans the US and covers almost 40 years. It doesn’t have Kubrick’s masterly control of style and atmosphere, either – but what does? All the same, Doctor Sleep doesn’t feel like a betrayal of The Shining. Partly that’s because it is so full of references to its illustrious predecessor, from the hexagonal-patterned carpet to the fact that one character’s house number happens to be 1980.”

Vanity Fair‘s Anthony Breznican says “The Overlook Hotel is a landmark in horror storytelling. Cursed ground, but sacred nonetheless. Even Stephen King, who first imagined the malevolent mountain retreat in his 1977 best-seller, was hesitant to return to that locale when he began writing the 2013 follow-up. Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of The Shining throws an equally long shadow, beloved by generations (if not King himself) for forever visualising the Overlook as a mind-bending labyrinth, haunted by tortured souls who become the torturers. The Doctor Sleep novel differs from Kubrick’s adaptation in a number of ways that Flanagan had to bridge.”

Mike Flanagan told Breznican “…the Overlook Hotel has represented the scariest thing at two different stages of my life. When I first saw The Shining as a kid, as someone way too young, it terrified me completely and traumatised me a little bit. It was the first real horror movie that I was able to endure watching. I was only in fifth grade too. It really did a number on me. I spent a good amount of my childhood terrified of the Overlook Hotel, and then when we embarked on this project, I was terrified of it in a whole different way. It was all welcome, but the pressure that we were inviting onto all of us, on the cast and crew, was certainly unprecedented in my career.”

The Guardian is not so kind: “Ewan McGregor as grownup Danny Torrance fights his own demons and others in this meandering follow-up to The Shining… It is more than half an hour longer than the Stanley Kubrick film, although it seems more than that – laborious, directionless and densely populated with boring new characters among whom the narrative focus is muddled and split.” Ouch.

Empire say “Doctor Sleep is also a direct continuation of the Kubrick adaptation. It’s King’s floorplan, but with Kubrick’s furniture.” We think they mean carpet!

Cinema Blend says that Flanagan “wanted to honour Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic classic, while also doing right by his hero, Stephen King. To do that he embraced King’s novels and their characters, stories and themes, while still committing to the significant changes made by Kubrick and his fellow filmmakers in the making of the 1980 version. Just as the director of a television pilot establishes the tone and aesthetic of the series to which predecessors can adhere, Mike Flanagan made sure that he made Doctor Sleep in the style of Stanley Kubrick, using the cinematic language of that original movie, as well as significant elements of the production. A big part of that was bringing back The Overlook Hotel for Doctor Sleep.

Officially licensed Hicks Hexagon rugs, runners and wall-to-wall carpet are available exclusively from the Film and Furniture store. Shop The Shining >

Let us know your thoughts!

F&F's Paula Benson outside Screen on The Green about to see Doctor Sleep.
It’s no joke: F&F’s Paula Benson about to see Doctor Sleep at Screen on The Green. Photo by Paul West.


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