This is a very interesting theatrical continuation of Stephen King’s “The Shining”. It follows Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) many years later as he battles with alcohol addiction and the effects of that special gift he first embraced so in his childhood. Things start to get better, but another gifted child named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) reaches out as she’s starting to find trouble with a dark group.
This sinister and very dark selection of people are headed by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson). They aim to find gifted people out there and brutally consume their essence. This leads to conflict, but it’s a very slow to build sort of film. This one definitely features a very slow pacing, with an overly long run time. That aside, it’s still generally great. It dives deep enough into the characters for development, establishes the lore behind the gift of the Shining to a greater extent and acts as a proper sequel to the original.
Tonally it’s entirely different, yet it still works very well in continuing that world. It carries the same sort of circular recurring time theme and is still rather horror focused in its atmosphere. It’s more of a direct style of horror, as opposed to the tension of the other one but you can’t really directly compare what they present. As they’re both very different situations, though you will get a splash of nostalgia as a satisfying reward if you stick with this one.
This is a beautifully shot film, it creates a greater fantasy layering to how we live and that’s interesting. It provides extra meaning to the powers, and shows to a further extent just what can be done with it. There are special people out there, and also some rather horrific folks that aim to harvest it for themselves.
It ties into the original story well, while also doing its own thing. Don’t expect it to feel the same, and you’ll find that this film stands on its own. The acting was also excellent here, McGregor nails the desolate and aged Danny. Then opposing him is a very creepy and yet charismatic Rose from Ferguson. This entirely embraced the mature elements of horror, and is definitely quite dark.
It’s not at all a case of tension or suspense though, so those looking to have an experience similar to The Shining will likely not find that at all here. Again, splashes of nostalgia are great and they pay respect to what came before. I am disappointed that they didn’t use more of that original source footage however.
Doctor Sleep is a great film, it stands well by itself but doesn’t necessarily hit close to the same strides as The Shining did. It’s not particularly fair to directly compare the two since they do aim to provide a different sense of atmosphere, but they are the same narrative so the comparisons can be made to a degree.
Don’t expect this to feel like that original film, because it isn’t trying to be the same. You will certainly enjoy the latter part of this if you liked The Shining. It takes awhile to get there, the pacing could have been better. Some will honestly find this really boring. That being said, they give lots of context behind the lore of this special power and develop characters well.
You get a sense of the sinister side to these terribly dark beings, and then also how others live with their abilities. It does come across as horror and it might surprise in that regard. It’s not quite as tense or scary as I expected, but it’s still really well done. There are great performances here, it’s very interesting to watch and I enjoyed it.
Doctor Sleep Review at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by Warner Brothers