[Review] Doctor Sleep (2019)

I write this review with a battered copy of The Shining (Stephen King) staring at me. I saw the movie (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) before getting a chance to read the book and after doing so; felt those two pieces of work had a missing link. Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is that link.

Years after the haunting events that took place in the infamous Colorado hotel, we find a nearing middle age Danny, now Dan, Torrance (Ewan McGregor) struggling to stay sober and fighting his proverbial demons, when “the Shining” creeps back into the forefront of his life. A newfound friendship forces him to face his gift and the ‘not so’ long lost specters of the ravenous Overlook Hotel.

overlook-hotel-shining-slice

Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) comes as a cataclysmic, shining force as Dan settles down in a small New Hampshire town, changing their lives and the lives of the anciently wicked True Knot.

The soon to be iconic Rose The Hat, (Rebecca Ferguson), leads The Knot with chilling voracity as they hunt down children with the gift of the Shining, unwittingly setting into motion a mystical series of events that will change all of their lives forever.

Although Flanagan manages to stay true to the book(s) and film, all while adding his signature eerie style, some moments do feel as if some of his own creativity might’ve been stifled by his desire to not ruffle any feathers, with fans or notoriously critical writers.

Casting and performances overall are seamless as McGregor, Curran and Ferguson bring King’s complex and authentic characters to life. In spite of seeing some new faces on familiar characters, (i.e Wendy, Dick Halloran, etc.) the casting makes the transition smooth. At least as much as possible, considering how irreplaceably demented certain actors can be.

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Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance

Albeit a bit of a slow burn, with a rather lackluster soundtrack at times, Doctor Sleep delivers and weaves Stephen King’s and Stanley Kubrick’s seminal works together in a dark and magical film that, I suspect, will only get better with each viewing.

Check out the trailer here.

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