Writer: Mike Flanagan (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Jacob Tremblay, Carel Struycken, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind, Bruce Greenwood, Kyliegh Curran
Plot: Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.
Tagline – The World will Shine Again
Runtime: 2 Hours 31 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Best Horror of the Year
Story: Doctor Sleep starts as we meet an older Danny Torrance (McGregor) who has learnt to deal with the nightmares of the Overlook Hotel and overcome his drinking and drug problems, making a new friend in Abra (Curran) who can use the Shining too. Rose the Hate (Ferguson) leads a cult that track down anybody who has the Shining to either recruit them like Snakebite Andi (Lind) or kill the, sucking the last breaths out of them, giving them longer lives.
Thoughts on Doctor Sleep
Characters – Danny Torrance grew up to learn how to contain the nightmares of the Overlook Hotel, he has turned to alcohol and drugs to get him through adult life, until he looks to clean up his life and start fresh, using his ability to guide people to the afterlife. He does make a new friend that communicates through a wall, one that will force him into using his ability to a new fight, a new evil, where he must protect a teenage girl who is being targeted. Rose the Hat is the leader of the cult, she selects who to eat or who to turn, she is the strongest of her group and keeps them in line, she searches for the next targets, with her eyes set on Abra, only to learn just how strong she really is. Abra is a teenage girl that has the ability to look and see miles away from her location, feeling the pain of the victims, she communicates with Danny for years and now calls for his help to deal with Rose and her friends. Billy is the man that sees the good in Danny and wants to help him clean up his act, becoming his best friend. Snakebite Andi shows what it is like to be recruited by Rose, she is one character that you did want to learn more about, because it feels like certain parts of her arc are left in the editing room.
Performances – Ewan McGregor taking the leading role is wonderful in this film, showing how damaged his character’s life is. Rebecca Ferguson is a joy to watch in the villainous role. Kyliegh Curran gives a fantastic performance filled with fear, determination and aggression in the fight.
Story – The story here brings us into the modern times as Danny Torrance is all grown up, dealing with most of the nightmares from his childhood, until he starts communicating with a teenage girl that has seen herself targeted by a cult that preys on the children with the shining abilities. This is a sequel to the much-loved The Shining and does bring us a brand-new story that does make complete sense. We do see certain ideas from other Stephen King novels come to light, with the idea of good and evil joining up before a battle, much like The Stand, while we get references of others through the film. The biggest and best part of the story comes from the idea that both sides can be dealt with the scarier moments in the story, making nobody feel safe.
Horror – The horror is the most interesting and strongest part of the film, we get Danny having his nightmares and to impress more, Abra and Rose using their abilities to try and stay ahead of each other, not to mention one of the most disturbing sequences of the year.
Settings – The film might be known for the iconic location of the Overlook Hotel, the rest of the locations see the gypsy characters travelling around showing how the powers are more than just a long time alone in a hotel.
Special Effects – The effects in this film show just what will happen to the cult if they don’t receive the steam, while also managing to recreate iconic moments from the original.
Final Thoughts – This is by far the best horror film of the year, it spins the horror ideas on its head by having both sides being put through the horror elements and does continue the legacy created by The Shining.
Overall: One of the Best Horrors Ever.