Movie Review: Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep Is Even Crazier Than The Shining
The world of The Shining just got even more insane with the release of its sequel Doctor Sleep, now playing in theaters.
Struggling with alcoholism, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) 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 (Kyleigh Curran), 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.
To be fair, making a sequel to The Shining didn’t sound like a great idea. The original 1977 novel by Stephan King remains one of his greatest and should never be messed with. And even 40 years after Stanley Kubrick’s spooky of The Shining was released, the movie has established itself as a pop culture classic. Nearly every aspect of Kubrick’s cinematography of the Overlook Hotel and its scary demon resident – from the Diane Arbus twins in their teal party dresses to the rapid flood of blood pouring out of the elevators to the rotting-old-lady demon emerging from behind the shower curtain of Room 237- is as iconic as anything that exists in the horror genre.
There are some films that beg for a sequel, but when you attempt to do a film sequel to an iconic film like The Shining, the results tend to be forgettable and a poor imitation of the original. However, if anyone has the right to create a sequel to The Shining, it’s Stephan King. He did that by writing the book Doctor Sleep, and the movie combines the elements of the novel, with the mood and setting of Kubrick’s The Shining.
Even though King has expressed his dislike of Kubrick’s The Shining, it’s now thought of as a classic. The new film, written and directed by Mike Flanagan, is a new adaptation of King’s sequel and treats the Overlook as a playground out of nightmares we get to revisit. To say the movie works shows how irresistible it is to go back there. It is also a testament to the ominous pull King’s imagination has on us. The Shining didn’t need a follow-up, but Doctor Sleep provides a fresh and unsettling second act to make it worthy.
The film has some stellar performances from its cast, but its Rebecca Ferguson’s Rose The Hat that will make you hold your breath in pure terror. What adds to Rose’s creepiness is that she is like a diabolically seductive figure. Ferguson brilliantly plays her as a satanic cult leader who leads her followers like vampires who feed off of child murder, and she does this all with a smile on her face that is just unsettling.
Overall, a sequel to The Shining wasn’t necessary, but Doctor Sleep will make you happy to have played in the funhouse of horrors once again.
Critic Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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