Title – Doctor Sleep (2019)
Director – Mike Flanagan (Oculus)
Cast – Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Bruce Greenwood, Jacob Tremblay
Plot – Years since the events of Overlook Hotel took place, the now middle-aged Danny Torrence (McGregor) finds himself battling a nefarious group known as The True Knot led by Rose the Hat (Ferguson) as he and fellow “shining” gifted Abra Stone (Curran) join forces.
“You need to listen to me. The world’s a hungry place. A dark place”
Review by Eddie on 08/11/2019
It’s well documented just how much revered 1980 Stanley Kubrick classic The Shining deviated from Stephen King’s source novel, so much so that King has practically dismissed the film altogether, but with sequel Doctor Sleep, King aficionado Mike Flanagan’s sequel event, Flanagan ensures there’s a healthy heeding to its source material whilst also balancing a hefty dosage of homage to Kubrick’s beloved cinematic icon.
Just as many suspected and many felt with King’s sequel novel, Doctor Sleep most certainly was not a needful occurrence, we all could’ve live happily ever after not knowing what became of unfortunately gifted boy Danny Torrence after the events that took place with his family in the Overlook Hotel but Flanagan does enough with his faithfully established event that die-hard fans of The Shining will enjoy their time here, even if in direct comparison, this over-long feature pales when placed against Kubrick’s original cinematic masterpiece.
Establishing a name for himself with solid horror outings such as Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil and the rightfully praised Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, Flanagan brings a steady hand to Doctor Sleep that helps ensure that it constantly feels polished and well-put together, with its surprisingly slowly paced and thoughtful beginnings a highlight, supported well by some neatly conjured up moments of terror and even some frighteningly well staged recreations of the Overlook Hotel.
Those seeking genuine scares from Doctor Sleep will be left disappointed as Flanagan doesn’t at all seem concerned about providing this, as he chooses to instead focus his attentions on creating an uneasy vibe throughout as he explores Danny’s mental demons and battles with alcoholism, but this is a win for the film as it could’ve gone down the easy jump scare route to entertain mass audiences in a more commercially viable way.
The tact Flanagan takes with this adaptation will be alienating to many however as it does veer more and more into self-indulgent territory as the runtime creeps along to 2 and a half hours and it’s hard to suggest that Doctor Sleep fully warrants its long in the tooth runtime, that could’ve benefited from a solid 20 to 30 minute trim.
In amongst the drawn out nature of the whole experience however is a fantastically manufactured supporting turn from Rebecca Ferguson as the film’s leader of the big group The True Knot, Rose the Hat.
Lighting up the screen whenever she’s front and centre, other cast members like the solid Ewan McGregor and the impressive young actress Kyliegh Curran as the films new Danny Abra Stone are fine in their own rights but Ferguson is a deliciously devious delight and Flanagan finds great ways to use her and her trope of slowly aging hanger’s on as they set about to extract the “steam” from the gifted Stone.
Elevating the film to a higher level whenever she’s allowed to, it’s a massive bonus for the film to have Ferguson along for the ride and helps maintain the film throughout its more so-so/mediocre moments.
Final Say –
Very different in tone and delivery to The Shining, Doctor Sleep never comes close to matching the highs of its forefather and while this over-long film outstays its welcome as time wears on, there’s enough here to warrant a viewing, especially with Ferguson creating one of 2019’s most memorable villains along the way.
3 seat-belts out of 5