Struggling with alcoholism, Dan Torrance remains traumatized by the sinister events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel when he was a child. His hope for a peaceful existence soon becomes shattered when he meets Abra, a teen who shares his extrasensory gift of the “shine.” Together, they form an unlikely alliance to battle the True Knot, a cult whose members try to feed off the shine of innocents to become immortal.
Some would say, The Shining is the best movie in the horror genre. Some would also say, it doesn’t necessarily need a sequel. I’m going to have to agree with the latter but here we are. Doctor Sleep, directed by Mike Flanagan who also directed Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game, presents us with a fantasy thriller filled with mysticism. While many wanted to know what happened to Danny and his mother, Wendy after the events that took place at Overlook hotel, I believe keeping that a mystery would’ve been better suited. Even though Doctor Sleep is technically a sequel, it operates on its own very well. It seems to be its goal. Even though the overall storyline deals with the shining that Danny discovers he has as a boy, he nor his psychic abilities are the main focus. See The Shining is not required to enjoy this movie or understand what’s happening. The story spends a great deal of time catching the audience up. So if you never witnessed its predecessor, don’t fret. I may have interpreted it differently than others, but this story seemed to operate more as a segue to another saga that I foresee coming in the future. The movie felt as if it didn’t quite know what it wanted to be initially. Is it going to cater to its devout fans and rely on fan service? Or, is it going to transform into something else altogether? The answer is both. There are definitely callbacks to the first film and subtleties that only fans of the Kubrick film will catch. I can’t lie, I was a little underwhelmed by the end of it all. It wasn’t as dark as I predicted, nor was it overly creepy. To me, it felt like a vampire movie. Hell, it also somewhat reminded me of Escape to Witch Mountain. It’s an enjoyable movie but its advertising is rather misleading. However, with its great cinematography, effects and acting, it’s hard not to like.
Plot & Pace
The movie begins by doing some recalling from the past and examining Danny Torrance’s current lifestyle. Now an alcoholic, Danny has begun to mirror the same tendencies his father once displayed. The movie really does a great job of showing the struggles of alcoholism. It then begins to take an unhurried approach which lasts much longer than it needed to. Once introduced to Rose and The True Knot as well as Abra, the story’s pace enhances and the focal point changes. The story is then filled to the brim shine and deception. Eventually giving fans exactly what they want. Going from city to city, we are shown the struggle for The Knot to survive in a new society. Ultimately leading to a epic shine down.
Characters & Chemistry
Hands down the stars of this film are Abra (Kyliegh Curran) and Rose (Rebecca Ferguson). Not only, did they steal every scene but they hijacked the story. Ewan McGregor as Danny showed great rage going from struggling alcoholic to potential hero. Emily Alyn Lind as Snakebite Andi is ruthless and should’ve been utilized more. Lastly, Cliff Curtis as Billy is the best friend you wish you had. Everyone meshed very well, especially when there was conflict.
Doctor Sleep releases in theaters on November 8th. Have fun at the movies.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Runtime: 2h 31m
Rating: 3 out of 5
Observing the human race since 1988.