When it came time to adapt ‘Doctor Sleep’; Stephen King’s sequel novel to ‘The Shining’, Mike Flanagan seemed to be faced with some tough decisions when writing and directing. Not only were King’s original novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation two different beasts, but they were so dissimilar that the author famously hated Kubrick’s take on his work. However, it seems that Flanagan has succeeded in crafting not only a worthy sequel nearly four decades after the original, yet a movie that seems to work on its own terms (Hey, if it is enough to please the “King”, then I am sure it will work for modern audiences).
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For a while, Mike Flanagan’s ‘Before I Wake’ was suspended; at the time, Relativity Media (the original distributor of the horror film) filed for bankruptcy, causing it not to have a theatrical release for quite some time. Who knew that it would be a Netflix original film in 2018! It was quite the surprise to see that the film – starring Kate Bosworth and up-and-comer Jacob Tremblay – had finally got the release after quite some time. I decided to watch ‘Before I Wake’ with my girl two weeks ago when she was in the mood for a movie. She was excited, yet I was skeptical. Horror movies are lacking in quality with incessant jump scares, and over-exploitation of gore just to get a reaction from audiences. Thankfully, ‘Before I Wake’ uses very little of these out-of-nowhere shocks, and mainly delivers a surprisingly deep story to overcome its horror movie tropes.
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I cannot guarantee that Netflix’s newest movie, ‘Gerald’s Game’ – based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name (and the third adaptation this year after ‘The Dark Tower’ and ‘It’) – is an easy watch; (as with most captivity thrillers) but if one were to get through a hodgepodge of ghostly visions, insanity, and a climax that I could describe as disturbingly and grotesquely unnerving for a film of its caliber, as I did, he or she will feel the epiphany of its themes in a way no horror movie has tried. Writer/Director Mike Flanagan (‘Oculus’, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’) makes ‘Gerald’s Game’ play out like a Bob Ross painting; it may not seem like much in the beginning, but once near completion, the picture is clear, and the beauty can be fully realized. It is amazing how something so simple can make you see things differently when all is said and done.
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