marcricov’s review published on Letterboxd:
Less a follow up to The Shining than it is an unofficial remake of Hocus Pocus.
Honestly, what the hell was all of that?
Regardless of being a more faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, never in a million years would I have imagined a filmmaker would not only have the guts to build upon the legacy of Kubrick’s masterpiece, but unashamedly recreate scenes from it with a new set of actors.
If you’ve ever looked into how Kubrick got his cast to perform so well, it’s because he literally pushed them to the brink of madness, which involved feeding Jack Nicholson cheese sandwiches for days on end because that was his least favourite thing to eat - which is why his growing irritation over the course of the film was so convincing…because its real! Kubrick wasn’t just a master of visual grandeur, but understood that perfecting the art of performance was just as important as adding icing to the cake…even if that meant re-filming the simple action of opening of a door 250 times to get the perfect shot. This is the kind of thing that can’t be mimicked, so why even try?
Flanagan, on the other hand, is basically a less cartoony version of James Wan. While his technical skills have become refined over the years, everything just felt half-baked here. From the depiction of alcoholism to the intermittently poorly written dialogue, not to mention the cringeworthy moments of fan-service that felt completely detached from the rest of the film. More to the point, wasn’t this supposed to be a horror film? Because there was not moment of tension or genuine terror throughout the entire runtime.
However, I will admit Rebecca Ferguson is exceptional as the kooky ringleader of the soul-sucking cult, but apart from that, this whole thing is an embarrassing, slightly boring misfire.