Mike Flanagan is done with bleak, hopeless endings

Mike Flanagan has brought some bleak, hopeless endings to the screen in the past, but we shouldn’t expect to see more of that from him

The Life of Chuck

Filmmaker Mike Flanagan has written some dark, disturbing endings in his career… but we shouldn’t expect to see much of that from him in the future. During a recent interview with actress Katee Sackhoff (who had a role in his film Oculus, one of his really depressing ones) for the Sackhoff Show podcast, Flanagan explained why he’s done with bleak, hopeless endings.

Flanagan told Sackhoff (with thanks to CBR for the transcription), “A lot of the stuff I was writing had really bleak endings and very hopeless endings. It pivots right after [Hill House] and everything I’ve done since then doesn’t have that.” Sackhoff asked if that’s the influence of his wife Kate Siegel coming through, and Flanagan said, “I think in a lot of ways it is. And it’s because of family. When Kate and I got together, my outlook changed a lot. We had kids of our own and the kids started growing up and it’s started to become more important for me because someday they’re going to interrogate our work. Someday we’re going to be gone and if they want to revisit us in an interesting way, they have all this work that they can look at. I never wanted them to come revisit those things and be left on a note of hopelessness. So, it’s become incredibly important to me that no matter how dark a story gets, there’s always hope and forgiveness and empathy at the end.

The next film we’ll be seeing from Flanagan is the Stephen King adaptation The Life of Chuck – which is not a horror movie. Cast member David Dastmalchian (Late Night with the Devildescribed the film as a beautiful, heartfelt drama, and co-star Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) has said it’s a beautiful masterpiece.

Based on the short story from King’s 2020 anthology If It BleedsThe Life of Chuck consists of three separate stories linked to tell the biography of Charles Krantz in reverse, beginning with his death from a brain tumor and ending with his childhood in a supposedly haunted house.

Tom Hiddleston (Loki) is playing Chuck, with Mark Hamill (Star Wars) playing a character named Albie. They, Dastmalchian, and Gillan are joined in the cast by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew Lillard (Scream), Jacob Tremblay (The Predator), Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Kate Siegel (Hush), Benjamin Pajak (Past My Bedtime), Trinity Jo-Li Bliss (Avatar: The Way of Water), Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World), Antonio Raul Corbo (Into the Dark: Pilgrim), Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows), Carl Lumbly (Doctor Sleep), Annalise Basso (Ouija: Origin of Evil), Samantha Sloyan (The Midnight Club), Rahul Kohli (Midnight Mass), Matt Biedel (Aliens Abducted My Parents), Sauriyan Sapkota (The Fall of the House of Usher), Saidah Arrika Ekulona (The Haunting of Hill House), Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica), Violet McGraw (M3GAN), Molly C. Quinn (Castle), and Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street).

Of course, Flanagan isn’t leaving horror behind. He recently signed on to write and direct the next film in the Exorcist franchise, which has a release date of March 13, 2026.

Flanagan has previously brought us Absentia, Oculus, Hush, Before I Wake, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gerald’s Game, The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, The Midnight Club, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

What do you think of Flanagan ditching bleak, hopeless endings, and his reasons for doing so? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.