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Mike Flanagan Revival Adaptation Somehow Darker Than Book

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BY July 4, 2020
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Stephen King has written plenty of disturbing moments in his career. But for my money, none of his books has come close to being as soul-shakingly dismal as Revival. This is not a statement of quality, mind you–according to ye olde Goodreads, I gave it 4 stars. However, if I had to sum up the experience of reading it, I’d say, “Feels bad, man.” And now we’ve learned that the Mike Flanagan Revival adaptation is going to be all that and worse.

Who Is Mike Flanagan? And Which One Was Revival, Again?

mike flanagan revival adaptation image via Netflix

In case he’s not a household name (in your household), here’s a brief primer on Mike Flanagan. He’s a multi-hyphenate, but primarily, he writes and directs movies. And while he’s directed a number of films based on his own material–Oculus and Hush, for example–he’s also a deft hand at adaptations. In fact, if you know him, then you probably know him for the adaptations. He’s the reason we all managed to cry and get scared at the same time during The Haunting of Hill House. He also already has experience adapting Stephen King’s material. For instance, he made Gerald’s Game for Netflix. He also wrote and directed Doctor Sleep.

And now–oh, Lord (literally)–he’s taking on Revival. Hang on, let me just repeat John 16:33 to myself.

Okay. As for Revival, in case you missed it in King’s prolific output, it was the one about the preacher. More specifically, it was the one where Jamie Morton recounts his history with minister Charlie Jacobs. Jacobs was a regular ol’ ray of sunshine when his family first moved to Jamie’s small Maine hometown. However, when his wife and son die in a car accident, Jacobs goes off the deep end–far off. He condemns God, gets kicked out of the church, and spends time as a sideshow flim-flam man. Then he starts doing some weird stuff with electricity. That’s when an adult Jamie reconnects with him. It just gets worse from there.

Mike Flanagan Revival Adaptation: Ain’t No Happiness Nowhere

mike flanagan revival adaptation image via Scribner

Flanagan stopped by Kingcast, a podcast devoted to–what else?–Stephen King’s work, this week to talk about 1408. During the chat about the story turned movie, he also discussed his Revival adaptation. Flanagan has written a script for the film, although it’s unclear at this point whether he will also direct it. And it’s unclear whether it will actually come to fruition.

As he said on the podcast, “I will be very curious to see if they let me make it.” That’s because, as he explained, “What I love about it is it’s a return to cosmic horror, which I think is so fun. 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.”

Flanagan says that the script, which King reportedly “loves,” might be seen as a bit of a departure from his recent work. Referring to criticism he’s received for “sentimental” endings, 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.’”

Fantastic. That’s exactly what we need In These Difficult Times and I can’t wait to keep thinking about it.

But what about you? Are you looking forward to Flanagan’s adaptation of Revival? Talk about it on our social media or say it in the comments here.

featured image via Francois Vaillancourt and Letterpress Publications

MoviesMike FlanaganmoviesRevivalStephen King

Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.

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