Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep Review

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep - Ewan McGregor

Credit: Warner Bros.

Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep is the sequel to the Shining, but it also acts as a catalyst to launch a whole new story with unique characters and creatures. Ewan McGregor plays Danny Torrance, the son of Jack Torrance who is now a grown man. His experience at the Overlook Hotel has greatly affected him, and throughout the years, he has been trying to forget the past. His life changes once again when Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl with special gifts tries to reach him. Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep won’t make you jump out of your seat, but it will give you goosebumps. Director Mike Flanagan takes his time capturing McGregor’s tortured performance, and the story becomes an intense game of cat and mouse involving vampire-like beings.

Doctor Sleep brings a new threat with Rose the Hat and her nomadic gang. There’s still Danny, who acts as a bridge from the past, but he’ll be roped in to help Abra in order to stop Rose from terrorizing other innocent bystanders. Although it’s a simple story of stopping the bad guys, what makes it captivating is discovering what the good guys and bad guys can do.

Flanagan did a remarkable job of showing us the aftermath of a family who lived in a haunted house in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. He does it again in Doctor Sleep by following Danny’s life decades after his time at the Overlook Hotel. He’s a mess of a man without a care in the world, and sex and alcohol help with forgetting all his troubles. It’s tragic to see Danny’s dad try to kill him and his mom in The Shining, and it’s more saddening to see how he has grown up. Thankfully, we have Abra who is determined to bring him into the fold to help her stop Rose.

Rebecca Ferguson as Rose the Hat is charismatic as the leader of her ragtag clan, and they are in search of more victims to fuel their immortality. Ferguson has fun with the material, but aside from that, she’s a one-dimensional character who just wants to suck the life out of people and protect her clan.

The film really picks up in the third act, and that’s when fans of The Shining will start to get really excited. There are many nods to The Shining including the music and setting, and it’s an eerie feeling.

Final Reaction

Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep a sequel, but it also expands on The Shining universe to give audiences a completely different story with other supernatural threats that feels like an episode of Supernatural and X-Files. Mike Flanagan is a fan of The Shining, and audiences will see nods from the classic film. Plus, he’s adept at showing how childhood trauma affects someone at a later age.

Score: 3.5/5 Atoms

Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep hits theaters on November 8, 2019.

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