Heeeereeee's Ewan! The first trailer for Doctor Sleep, the sequel to 1980 horror masterpiece The Shining, has crept online. And it's cloaked in all manner of creepy nostalgia, while also pushing the mythology forward.
Ewan McGregor stars as the older Danny Torrance in this adaptation of Stephen King's novel. He's still tormented by his shining abilities, but when he meets a young child who shares the same 'gifts', it sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.
We've delved into the trailer to dig out all the classic Shining references contained within...
Firstly, the obvious one. 'Redrum' is 'murder' spelled backwards, and as a youngster, Danny wrote this while under the influence of the shining. It foreshadowed the murderous decline of his late father Jack (Jack Nicholson) who, consumed by the evil spirits in the isolated Overlook Hotel, ran amok with an axe. Danny and his mother Wendy (Shelly Duvall) barely escaped from the Overlook with their lives, while Jack froze to death, his own soul consumed by the hotel.
Decades later, Danny is a trouble individual, consumed by alcoholism much like his father was. How this ties into redrum, and whether the sins of the father will be revisited, remains to be seen.
2. Echoes of the past
In Stanley Kubrick's seminal 1980 movie (which King famously hated), Danny was told of his shining abilities by kindly caretaker Halloran (Scatman Crothers). It turned out that both characters shared the same abilities, and it's this 'magic' that young Danny later used to summon Halloran back to the Overlook as his father went insane.
The kitchen conversation from The Shining is mirrored in Doctor Sleep, as the older Danny is approached by teenager Abra (Kyleigh Curran), who also shares the gift of psychic premonition. It's this revelation that dredges up painful and horrifying memories from Danny's past – he has met very few people with shining abilities, and Abra therefore holds special significance.
And not just for him, either – Abra is being hunted by the sinister Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), a cult that feeds off children with psychic powers.
3. Room 237 and the elevator of blood
One of the most terrifying scenes in The Shining involved the haunted room with the number 237. It was here that Danny was summoned, and later on we see his father Jack confronted by a spectral woman who transforms into a hideous, haggard old ghoul.
The Doctor Sleep trailer actually interweaves original footage from The Shining, rather than re-staging it with new actors and decor. It seems the invasive influence of the past will be a recurring theme in Doctor Sleep (the return of the eerie music from the original film also reinforces this). Another vividly horrible recurrence from The Shining is the image of the blood pouring out of the Overlook's elevators – an allusion to Jack's eventual murderous rampage.
This is juicy material for writer-director Mike Flanagan who has made a virtue of such themes in the past – he adapted Stephen King novel Gerald's Game for Netflix (for whom he also delivered hit TV show The Haunting of Hill House), and also delivered creepy Karen Gillan horror Oculus.
4. Danny at the door
The most famous moment from The Shining involved the leering Jack peering through the smashed bathroom door, barking 'Here's Johnny!' It was actually an ad-lib from star Jack Nicholson (referring to the Johnny Carson TV show) and has gone down in history as one of horror cinema's most enduring images.
This classic moment is mirrored in the Doctor Sleep trailer when Danny approaches the same door (is it a vision? Is it real?) and peers through the same gap left behind by his father's axe. It's a quietly chilling moment that again blurs past and present, while leaving us wondering about the sanity of McGregor's character. Is he also destined to slip into mania and psychosis like his dad? (No spoilers from those who've read the novel.)
5. 'Dies Irae'
You can't fail to have noticed the reprise of the famously eerie opening music from The Shining. This was composer Wendy Carlos's adaptation of 'Dies Irae' (aka Dat of Wrath), and it accompanied the sequence of aerial shots that tracked Jack's journey to the Overlook Hotel.
Its presence in the Doctor Sleep trailer is suitably unnerving, although there's no guarantee we'll actually hear it or the rest of The Shining's celebrated soundtrack in context (the Doctor Sleep score is credited to The Newton Brothers). Will we be hearing the nerve-shredding likes of Bartok and Ligeti in the context of Stephen King again? We'll find out soon enough.
What did we miss in the trailer? Let us know @Cineworld and prepare for Doctor Sleep when it's released on 1st November 2019.