Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
Movie: Doctor Sleep (2019)
Plot: Years following the events of The Shining (1980), a now-adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.
Review: 2019 was a terrific year for the horror genre. Not only were most of the movies release above your average fare, the variety to choose from was also top notch. The three highest rated (IMDb.com) were The Lighthouse, Midsommar and Doctor Sleep and I enjoyed each and everyone of them. That said, my bias is about to rear its head, because I had to go with the movie I personally loved the most. Not just that, I based my choice on the film I would most likely rewatch time and time again, and that honour goes to Doctor Sleep.
The legacy left behind by The Shining was never going to be outmatched, so I went into this movie with little to zero expectations. But once again director Mike Flanagan proves he understands how to adapt Stephen King’s work like no other, giving me a solid follow-up to the iconic film that started it all.
Based on the novel of the same name, Doctor Sleep follows Danny Torrance, all grown up and looking remarkably similar to Ewan McGregor (that was my lame attempt at humour folks). McGregor’s Dan is a man who has spent his life drowning his gift (aka “shine”) with drugs and alcohol. As he begins to find his way, he’s contacted by a young girl named Abra who shines so bright, she becomes a target of an evil group of psychics called the True Knot who literally feed off of kids like Abra to maintain their own power and immortality.
The fact this sequel works in any form is astounding, but Flanagan crafts a story that’s intriguing enough to keep you onboard all the way to the end. I also loved seeing the different ways in which “the shine” could be used, both for good and evil. All respect to Stanley Kubrick’s vision, but I was one of those people who initially (gasp) hated The Shining when I first saw it. The novel was my absolute favourite at the time and I didn’t like his interpretation of it. Age brought wisdom, which brought a deep appreciation for this classic film, which brings me right back to Doctor Sleep, a movie that more closely resembles the world Stephen King crafted in his two books.
Yes, the film is unnecessarily long, but that doesn’t stop it from having a sense of dread for most of the runtime. The acting by leads McGregor, Kyliegh Curran as Abra and Rebecca Ferguson as the terrifying Rose the Hat are all equally memorable, especially Ferguson whose villainous turn as the seductive cult leader is one for the bad guy record books.
Now there are viewers who thought the ending pandered to fans of the first film, playing on nostalgia to win favour. I totally disagree with this. Dan Torrance is a man who has spent his life running from his nightmares – nightmares that began in The Overlook Hotel. It made all the sense in the world to have his story end where it began, and the final act brings everything full circle in the best ways possible.
So while I fully agree The Shining can stand and does stand on its own, Doctor Sleep put a satisfying cap on the story for me. And in the process gave me the kind of horror movie I would enjoy revisiting time and time again.
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
So are you a fan of Doctor Sleep? For part 25 of 31 Days of Horror and my review of A Quiet Place you can click here. And for more than 100 horror movie reviews and lists you can check out the RMR horror section here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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