'Revival': Mike Flanagan Says His Latest Stephen King Adaptation is "Relentlessly Dark and Cynical"

Mike Flanagan knows a thing or two about Stephen King adaptations. The filmmaker helmed both Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep, and now he’s gearing up for another: Revival. King’s revival, published in 2013, is a bleak, disturbing novel – and it sounds like Flanagan isn’t going to water things down. In a recent interview, Flanagan offered a quick update on the project and confirmed that it’s going to be just as dark as the source material.

I’m a big fan of Stephen King, but I’ll be the first to admit that some of his later novels don’t pack quite the punch as his earlier work. That said, King still knows how to crank out a great tale of terror, and every once in a while he publishes a new book that’s just as vital and exciting as his iconic work. One such recent example is Revival, a dark, disturbing, and often terrifying novel published in 2013. Inspired in part by FrankensteinRevival follows the story of a boy who befriends a cool, young minister who moves to his small Maine town.

However, after the minister’s wife and son are killed in a horrific car accident, the man of God has a breakdown and is run out of town. As the boy grows into a man, he keeps running into the former minister again and again, learning that the minister has been conducting strange experiments with electricity. His experiments are all about pulling back the veil between this world and the afterlife, striving to find out if there’s anything after death – and discover where his dead wife and son might be in the process. Of course, since this is a Stephen King novel, those experiments have terrifying consequences.

There’s a lot more to the story, but I won’t give away the spoilers. All I say is this: the last third of the book is some of the scariest shit King has ever written, primarily because it’s so unrelentingly bleak. You might think that a film adaptation of this material would shy away from such harshness, but according to Mike Flanagan, that’s not the case.

Flanagan is currently handling the Revival script, and there’s a pretty good chance he’ll direct it, too (although that’s not confirmed yet). Recently, Flanagan stopped by The Kingcast and offered an update on the script. “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. This is just bleak and mean and I like it for that…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.’”

As a fan of both King and Flanagan, I really can’t wait to see how this turns out. If Flanagan really does manage to capture the desolate horror of the novel, Revival might end up being one of the most disturbing horror movies in a long time. Fingers crossed.

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