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SYFY WIRE doctor sleep

Revival: Mike Flanagan says 'get ready' for even darker Stephen King adaptation

By Matthew Jackson
Mike Flanagan

Horror writer/director Mike Flanagan already has two acclaimed Stephen King adaptations under his belt: The Netflix original movie Gerald's Game (an adaptation a lot of King fans considered unfilmable) and the Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, which is finding new life this summer among streaming viewers. Back in May, he officially signed on for a third adaptation, this time of King's 2014 novel Revival, and in a new interview the creator teased that this one will depart from his other King works in a very clear way. 

In a new episode of The Kingcast, during which he discussed his love of the King short story "1408" and its subsequent film adaptation, hosts Eric Vespe (a SYFY WIRE contributor) and Scott Wampler asked Flanagan for an update on Revival. He noted that he's handed in a script for the project — which follows the strange relationship between an addict musician and a preacher-turned-faith-healer — and that King himself "loves it." He also teased that the film will allow him an opportunity to depart from his more recent work that leans heavily on hope at the end of horror, and do something a bit darker.

“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 kind of 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 Absentia, maybe? Maybe Ouija?"

In discussing the tone his Revival adaptation sets, and how it differs from his other recent work, Flanagan noted that he happens to be the kind of filmmaker who reads a lot of reviews, and therefore has noticed a certain trend that Revival will allow him to move away from.

“One of the ones that I've seen come out in the past is like, 'Oh, well the ending's sentimental.' Or, you know, 'The ending's syrupy, the ending gets emotional,'" he said. "This one was a really fun piece of material for me because I get to be like, ‘Oh, you want a dark ending? Okay. Cool. Get ready.’“

Revival does not yet have a release date, and Flanagan was careful to note that the production schedule will depend in no small part on how COVID-19 affects filmmaking in the months and years to come. That said, when it does come out, it'll be very interesting to see how Flanagan's take on the material contrasts with the way he approached Gerald's Game and Doctor Sleep.