Doctor Sleep (2019)

doctor sleep poster 2019 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Stylish, interesting ties to the original film

Story takes a long time to find direction

Movie Info

Movie Name: Doctor Sleep

Studio: Intrepid Pictures

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  October 31, 2019 (Europe)/November 8, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

doctor sleep ewan mcgregor dan torrance redrum

A laugh-track and a few tweaks and “Danny Torrance: Psychic Detective” could have been picked up on Netflix

Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and the True Knot seek food.  Psychic vampires that feed on people with special abilities, the True Knot find that food is scarce.  Dan “Danny” Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has been hiding most of his life and using alcohol like his father to subdue his shine.  When he is contacted by a girl named Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) who also has a powerful shine, Dan finds himself forced to make a decision if he hopes to protect Abra from the True Knot…the True Knot is coming, and Dan’s only choice may be facing his past.

Directed by Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep is a horror film.  The movie adapts Stephen King’s 2013 novel that is a sequel to The Shining.  The film was released to mixed to positive reviews.  The film also received a Director’s Cut which added almost an additional thirty minutes.

doctor sleep true knot rose the hat snakebite rebecca ferguson

Oh good…more hipster vampires…

Doctor Sleep had a tough path.  The book is a sequel to Stephen King novel The Shining, but the novel The Shining doesn’t follow the classic Stanley Kubrick 1980 film.  The movie had the choice to follow the novel or the film.  More people know the film than the novel and the movie opted to follow it as a sequel.

The Shining book is wildly different than the movie.  Though it follows the basic ideas of the film, the movie has Hallorann living, no maze, no bloody elevators, and the hotel blowing up at the end.  This movie takes the film version and continues the story there more so than the novel.  Dick Hallorann is dead, the hotel still stands, and Dan is a mess as a result.  The story is a bit of a redemption story for Dan (who has failed since surviving the Overlook) and has him mentoring another with the ability to shine…it just takes a long time for the movie to get going.  Once the film gets into the groove, the movie gets better and feels rather solid.

doctor sleep abra stone dan torrance overlook axe ewan mcgregor kyliegh curran

I know how to swing an axe…I learned it from my father.

The cast is largely split into two groups.  There is the Doctor Sleep cast with Ewan McGregor playing the wreck Dan and trying to balance his abilities with his life while following in his father’s footsteps of alcoholism (which provides an interesting aspect to the story since he knows how destructive it can be).  Rebecca Ferguson is also compelling as the hippie-esque Rose the Hat who leads the True Knot and resembles DC Comics’ Death.  Kyliegh Curran is good as Dan’s mentor and someone who is on the verge of enjoying her ability.  I also like Cliff Curtis who is willing to give Dan a chance…and believes his story.  Room star Jacob Tremblay also plays one of the young victims of the True Knot, and I wish he had more screen time.  The second part of casting is the recasting of The Shining with Henry Thomas as the Jack Nicholson character, but I really commend Alex Essoe (Wendy Torrance) and Carl Lumbly (Dick Hallorann) for capturing the vocalizations and acting of Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers.

doctor sleep overlook ghosts twins bathtub woman

Hey guys…long time no see…you’re not mad at me are you?

The movie does excel visually.  The movie blends aspects of Kubrick’s films both in style, music, and editing with visuals that feel like a natural progression.  They do some interesting scenes with tilting rooms and visions that move the story forward.  The recreation of the Overlook, the original film, and the ghosts of the hotel is good…I just wish they brought back the creepy dog-man.

Doctor Sleep has its moments, but I wish it got moving faster.  The film is long and feels long at points (while longer, the Director’s Cut seems to flow better), but I have to admit that the original Shining also has pacing issues.  I can forgive The Shining for its pacing because the payout is so good, but Doctor Sleep’s payout isn’t quite as powerful (though it does have moments).  I can see a Shining-verse moving forward if the producers play it right and I still would love to see a more inclusive King universe in either TV or film (Castle Rock is a start, but not as good as a Dark Tower-verse…there are plenty of nods here).  Redrum hopefully will live on.

Related Links:

The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1997)

The Shining

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response