Released in Ireland on October 31st 2019
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran
The film is a sequel to the 1980 film the Shining. Already having some big boots to fill. The story follows Danny (Dan) Torrance who now grown up is struggling with alcohol problems and deals with what happened to him as a child in the Overlook Hotel. The film follows Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) battling alcohol addiction and as he moves to a new town he meets new people and some friends too. Rose the hat (Rebecca Ferguson) is the leader of a vampire style cult that feeds off people’s fear and ability to shine in an attempt to become immortal. Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) a young 13 year old girl with the ability to shine in a way nobody has before is a key player placed between Danny and Rose the hat.
My thoughts * spoilers *
First off I had a lot of expectations for this movie, I mean c’man you have to follow up the greatest horror movie of all time. I tried not to get my hopes up too much or watch many trailers in advance because I wanted it all to feel fresh and have no spoilers when I watched it and I’M SO GLAD I DID THAT.
Doctor sleep is fantastic. From start to finish I was intrigued, nervous, curious and holding in my excitement at what was going to happen next. I also had to hold in going to the bathroom for the last hour, at 2 1/2 hours run time my baby bird bladder could barely hold on but I was too invested in the characters and story to leave even for a second.
The film starts as a bit of a slow burn, I loved it we got to catch up with Wendy and Danny Torrance right after the events at the overlook in 1980. Honestly I wasn’t crazy about the recast Wendy or Danny but it worked fine for the few brief scenes they’re in. The actor playing Dick Halloran the chef from the shining was fantastic, I almost thought it was Scatman Crothers himself. We get to live with the central characters and understand their lives and motivations for most of the first hour of the film. It grounds the film in reality despite some of the horrific and supernatural elements that take place.
Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance is fantastic, he brings a realness to his tough, alcoholic side of life ( think trainspotting) and he’s incredibly likeable, relatable and a genuinely good human being. Rose the hat is one of the best villains in a film in recent years she’s ruthless, violent, manipulative and like all great villains she has motivation for her actions and we understand why she does what she does. That being said I wasn’t sure was her accent Irish or not, I think it was but I’m unsure either way it sounded good and really suited her character.
The references to the shining are perfectly executed in this film bar one thing I’m not crazy about, as soon as I saw it I thought nope thanks but no I don’t want this. I get what your doing but nope, I can be stubborn like that. We see the Overlook Hotel again. And the ominous drive up there in the snow with the shining theme playing eerily I got goosebumps. Danny is back at the hotel he’s in the Gold Room, we see the elevators and the blood, the hideous rotting woman returns several times and honestly enough it’s the most horrible part of both movies. I had goosebumps the entire time Danny walked through the hotel. The musical keys and throwbacks are excellently handled.
The one thing I didn’t like. Why put a different actor playing Jack Torrance. I don’t want it why not just use his voice or some dialogue from the film. Nothing against Henry Thomas I love him as Elliott in ET and Samuel in Legends of the fall but seeing a fake Jack I. The hotel felt strange to me. Maybe I’ll grow to like it on rewatch and it won’t matter to me, I don’t know but Dick Halloran aside I wasn’t crazy about the other returning characters and how they resembled their original actors.
My little nit-picking aside this film is a well made, excellently paced and thrilling horror film. I am pleased because it pays respect and has great references to the Shining and the film also does what all great sequels need to do which is to make it bigger and make it have its own feel and originality which Doctor Sleep definitely does.
Now it’s time for me to watch the Shining again and potentially Doctor Sleep again too….