Doctor Sleep

Image result for Doctor Sleep movie poster

I am a fan of The Shining.  When I say this, I mean the movie.  I have not read the book written by Stephen King that apparently is different enough to have King hate the Stanley Kubrick movie version.  It is a big dust up between them.  So when King wrote a sequel to the book, that made adapting it to the big screen a serious challenge.

The major issue is that audiences are very familiar to the Kubrick movie and if the sequel, Doctor Sleep, would not embrace the film, I believe that there would be issues.

I have also not read Doctor Sleep, the novel by King so I will not be looking at how they adapted the book to film.  I heard some people criticizing the movie because of some changes or omissions from the source material.  I do not believe that is fair, but I certainly understand it.

I go into this detail mainly to show that I will only be reviewing the movie that I saw on the screen, not the book or the adaptation of said book.

The movie I saw was fantastic.  One of the best horror films of the year.

We meet a grown up Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) years after the events at the Outlook Hotel and the years have not been kind to Danny.  He had become an alcoholic to depress the shine that caused him such troubles.  However, after starting his life over and hopping on the wagon, Danny receives a mental contact with another Shining user, young girl Abra (Kyliegh Curran).

Everything is not perfect though.  There is a group of creatures, led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who feed on the Shine of people like Danny and Abra.  The power of the young Abra attracted the vampiric characters toward her and forced Danny to step up to help her.

This was a truly scary film that did not rely on jump scares.  The terror was real, built on tension and creepiness.  The horrific situations were difficult to watch at times.  There was one brutal scene involving Rose the Hat, her cultists, and a baseball playing kid (who is played by a kid actor in a surprise cameo) that absolutely stays with you.

The moodiness of this film is tremendous as I was constantly shifting in my seat.  It makes the viewer uncomfortable because you really do not know what is going to happen and that uncertainty is a gift in today’s movie going experience.

The performances were wonderful throughout Doctor Sleep.  McGregor is as good as he always is and Rebecca Ferguson raised her game.  However, Kyliegh Curran deserves a ton of praise for her work.  She had to bring a lot to this role as the new kid with the Shine and she delivers big time.  She was one of those young actors whom you know you have to keep an eye on because, if her career continues as such, she is going to be a superstar.

Thanks to Rebecca Ferguson and a group of very strong actors, the villains, which could have been disposable one note monsters, are actually very well developed for the minimal screen time they received.  You see the connection between this group of killers and you can almost appreciate how their relationship is shown.  They are obviously monsters, as the scene with the baseball kid showed in spades, but you can somewhat see their warped view of their lives.

The movie looked great and horror veteran director Mike Flanagan simply knows what he is doing in this genre.  The shots are wonderful and the pacing is just right.

I have heard some complaints about the third act of this movie, but I thought it was just about perfect.  I loved the resolution of the story and the emotional depth from these scenes.  There is one scene in particular between McGregor and Henry Thomas (yes, the kid from E.T.) that was powerful to me.

I was fully engaged with Doctor Sleep from the start.  It has a long run time, but it did not bother me in the slightest.  Great performances and amazing horror elements make this an experience that is frightful and anxiety-ridden.  It is a excellent sequel to the Kubrick classic.

Second one in as many reviews, but I think it deserves it.

5 stars 

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