Review: DOCTOR SLEEP Is A Love Letter To The Shining

FIRST IMPRESSION

Mike Flanagan's Doctor Sleep effectively expands the universe that Kubrick created nearly four decades ago while also staying true to its source material.
Directing
Writing
Acting
Technical Merit

Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep successfully blends elements of Stephen King’s novels and serves as a proper continuation to Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece, The Shining. Flanagan has been making a name for himself since his successful film Oculus released back in 2013. Now, fresh off last year’s well-received Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, Flanagan has crafted a worthy companion to one of the best horror films ever.

Based on King’s 2013 novel of the same name, Doctor Sleep picks up nearly four decades after the events of The Shining. Danny Torrance, now all grown up, is a struggling alcoholic who remains haunted by the events that unfolded at the Overlook hotel during his childhood. After hitting rock bottom, Danny starts getting clean and meets Abra, a young girl who shares his ability to shine. After Abra becomes the target of an immortal group known as the True Knot, Danny attempts to save her before it’s too late. Directed and written by Flanagan, Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, and Cliff Curtis.

Rebecca Ferguson as Rose the Hat in DOCTOR SLEEP

Flanagan’s script is an absolute treat that manages to effectively balance itself as a sequel to The Shining novel and film. There are several callbacks to Kubrick’s film and a third act that fans will absolutely adore. Flanagan spends enough time developing all of the major characters, even though a lot of the True Knot members aren’t developed that well outside of Rose the Hat. He takes time to reconnect audiences with Danny and fully flesh out this downward spiral he has been on for quite a while so that viewers can sympathize with his struggles. Speaking of Rose the Hat, she is going to go down as one of the greatest on-screen horror villains. The character is calculated, charismatic, very memorable and it helps that she is brought to life by such an amazing actress.

Ewan McGregor is incredible as Danny and the expressions on his face just help see what the character is going through. Since his father went insane when he was a kid, Danny hasn’t fully recovered from that and he sadly adopted his father’s alcoholism as well. Luckily, he decides he doesn’t want to go down that same road and he starts fresh. He now uses his ability to shine in order to give dying elderly a peaceful passing. Mcgregor is very believable in the role and his performance makes it easy for audiences to get behind Danny.

Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance in DOCTOR SLEEP

Also, Doctor Sleep does a great job of spending equalling enough time with its villains and protagonist. Now, the standout in this film is Ferguson who stars as Rose the Hat, an immortal psychic who leads the True Knot. The group feeds on the life force of individuals that shine in order to live longer and stay young. Ferguson is giving one of her best performances to date in this role, she brings a seductive charm to the character and her delivery is amazing.  Ferguson just makes Rose the Hat come across as such a dominant presence and her fate probably could have been handled a bit better.

Doctor Sleep is very chilling, calm, and very atmospheric thanks to Flanagan’s camera work. His attempts at recreating famous shots from The Shining aren’t the best, but still very impressive. The film really is at its best when Flanagan just does his usual thing by creating a world viewers can get hooked on like a hypnotic drug and remaining true to the Doctor Sleep aspect of it. Towards the end, the film stumbles a bit and the final act feels rushed and not finished. The problem is that everything prior is paced very slowly just like The Shining, but then the pace picks up at a decent rate and then it rushes through its third act. However, Doctor Sleep is still a solid film overall despite its hiccups.

Adding to that, the score for Doctor Sleep is fantastic and it just makes the film so much more interesting. Composed by the Newton Brothers, it consists of some revamped tunes from Kubrick’s film and several new pieces for this continuation. There is one scene in particular where a familiar tune plays and it will cause nostalgia for some and send chills down your spine all at once.

Kyliegh Curran as Abra in DOCTOR SLEEP

Also, Curran is a surprising delight as Abra. The character has a hint of darkness lingering in her that becomes apparent by the pleasure she finds in hurting Rose the Hat. Curran gives a performance that perfectly balanced that innocence and that inner darkness, which may or may not become an issue for her later in life. The chemistry between her and McGregor is amazing to watch unfold. Her encounters with Rose the Hat are all very tense and chilling because Curran brings a sense of overconfidence to the character. It’s one of those rare occasions where the child actor isn’t a bother and viewers will actually want to see more of her as the film progresses.

Doctor Sleep is by far the best Stephen King film this year. It really only stumbles when it wants to be overly nostalgic and recreate things from The Shining. However, Flanagan spends a remarkable amount of time telling the primary story, and connecting viewers with the characters. IA film that effectively acts as a middle ground between several works was never going to be an easy task, but Flanagan has done a great job with Doctor Sleep and it wraps up the story of Danny Torrance in a beautiful way.

 

TRENDING THIS WEEK

CURON | Official Trailer | Netflix

Seventeen years after the tragic events that forced her to leave Curon, a woman returns home with her twin children. They soon discover that the town is cursed: when you hear the bells of the old church tower ringing, repressed feelings come back to the surface. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading…

Never Have I Ever in Other Languages | Dub Swap | Netflix

Hear your favorite Never Have I Ever characters' dialogue get “dub swapped” with various official Netflix foreign language dubs from around the world. If you think trying to communicate with a wild coyote is impossible, imagine it in French! Let us know your favorite dubbed Never Have I Ever character in the comments, and we’d…

A Film By Errol Morris (2020) Official Trailer | SHOWTIME Documentary Film

A FILM BY ERROL MORRIS (w/t) asks the question why Leary, the High Priest of LSD, became a narc in 1974 and seemingly abandoned the millions he urged to turn on, tune in and drop out. Was his “perfect love” Joanna Harcourt-Smith a government pawn, as suggested by Allen Ginsberg? Or was she simply a…

Spelling the Dream | Official Trailer | Netflix

Following four hopeful competitors’ journeys, this documentary explores the trend of Indian Americans ruling the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1999. Watch Spelling the Dream, Only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81069312 SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and…

F is for Family Season 4 | Official Trailer | Netflix

Frank and the Murphys are back! F is for Family returns with a new season on June 12. While Frank deals with an unwelcome visit from his estranged father, Sue pursues New Age pregnancy support, and the Murphy kids try out new personas. Watch F is for Family on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80028732 SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix:…

I May Destroy You | Official Trailer | HBO

A fearless, frank and provocative half-hour series exploring the question of sexual consent and where, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, the distinction between liberation and exploitation lies. Set in London, where gratification is only an app away, the story centers on Arabella (Coel), a carefree, self-assured Londoner with a group of great…

Outer Banks vs Never Have I Ever vs On My Block | Smoothie Challenge | Netflix

Chase Stokes (Outer Banks), Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever), and Jess Marie-Garcia (On My Block) make mystery smoothies based on their shows. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety…

Love Is Blind | Home Tour with Lauren & Cameron | Netflix

Love Is Blind's Lauren and Cameron show you how their house has changed since Lauren moved in. Watch Love Is Blind, only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/search?q=love%20is%20b&jbv=80996601&jbp=0&jbr=0 Watch Lauren & Cameron's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcoTzuZUtK3Vs48Rexuw85g SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV…
Eric Trigg
Eric Trigg
 I am Horror fanatic that can't go a single month without watching something horror related. I have a YouTube channel that is growing and would love for you to be one of my supporters. The fact that sequels exist proves there is no perfect film. 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here